Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 83

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Word/term/idiom articles

These are technically not encyclopedic at all. Examples of them are swear words, and

But individual articles like this are nevertheless pretty popular, I tried to write a policy to cover them, and I would appreciate comments on it:

WP:Encyclopedic dictionary articles Lexicograffy (talk) 18:49, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

"A word is deemed sufficiently notable to be in Wikipedia if it is in Wiktionary." I doubt you'll get much support for that standard. postdlf (talk) 20:55, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
You have to have that as well as covering the article term MUCH more thoroughly though.Lexicograffy (talk) 22:30, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
I have commented at some length at the proposed guideline's talk page.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 01:29, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Having read the proposal, and Fuhghettaboutit's comments, I have to say I'm entirely in agreement with him/her - this is a massive extension of our criteria for inclusion based in turn on another Wiki's criteria (and article size!). A total non-starter as an attempt to solve a non-problem. If an encyclopaedic article on a word can be justified (rare, but possible), we can and do include it. If it can't we don't. Why abandon a general principle to create "second-class" articles where the need has not been shown? AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:53, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
No, the problem is that the Wikipedia articles on words exist, but the policies largely or completely deny it the possibility of reaching FA. Pretty much no swear word can ever follow the naming guideline because they're all adjectives, all encyclopedia article names are nouns. Swear words are very popular. But the policies say they must not exist. By creating a new subdivision we can give them legitimacy.Lexicograffy (talk) 02:34, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
...And in the process open up a whole new can of worms by using arbitrary criteria based on another Wiki's inclusion policy. If there is a problem, this isn't the solution. Perhaps you could provide some examples of 'word-articles' you feel that Wikipedia should have permitted, but didn't? Maybe then we can find a practical solution. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:42, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
The worms are already wriggling in the wiki. Encyclopedia articles are supposed to be largely lexicography-free, and word articles are supposed to be largely or completely lexicography. So the worms are off right now! The swear words for example, are fine articles, but are pure lexicography. Nothing wrong with that.Lexicograffy (talk) 03:05, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
For example, milord, thou, man (word), go (verb), forty winks. There's nothing wrong with them, but they're virtually all about usage, definition etc. they're pure lexicography. All this is a policy to cover those. If you disagree with any particular point in the proposed policy, I'm sure it can be changed/improved.Lexicograffy (talk) 03:05, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Of the seven most famous seven swear words on the planet (Carlin's) (cocksucker, cunt, fuck, motherfucker, piss, shit, tits) all are nouns and one is a verb and a noun. Why do you say swear words are all adjectives young Lex ?--— Tumadoireacht Talk/Stalk 05:09, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
⦿⨦⨀ Your ideas and logic are good young Lex . The rule of thumb idea of a word being eligible for WP status if its entry is twice the size of a WD entry is a good one but I find the fetish of wanting to bask in the status of reaching FA status is a false god and misdirects people away from the real purpose of sharing knowledge.

Perhaps like Batman with his batcar this and batplane etc. the world needs to strap on a tool belt with a few new wikis -how about a Wikigossip, and a Wikiconjecture, a Wikidafttheories and a Wikiwhatwikipediarejects ? An editor just dumped 25,000 characters of lovely Hiberno-english words many of then swear words from the Hiberno-English page as some of them were poorly or un- referenced to scholarly sources. Sometimes articles and the site lose richness through over vigourous pruning and rigid interpretation of verifiability and notability and indiscriminate.--Tumadoireacht (talk) 02:25, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

There are swear words, but I don't think any are FA, and I don't think they could be right now.Lexicograffy (talk) 03:05, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Why is being FA so important anyway? AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:12, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Proposal for the Major expansion of Holidays and observances (H&O) guideline

A few years earlier, I have "reorganized" the content of the Holidays and observances (H&O) section for each days of the year, making sure that the guideline has consistent writing style and making sure that real holiday is placed in the H&O section.

The guideline for all H&O for 366 articles for each days of the year has been regulated by the H&O guideline in Wikipedia:DOY. However, the current Wikipedia:DOY guideline for the H&O section is too short, unclear, and does not accommodate the many kinds of holidays that is there. As a result, various inconsistent writing styles and various incorrect holidays keep reappearing in the H&O section.

Although the writing style for each of the 366 articles has been made consistent for the past few years, there are still conflicting opinions regarding the formatting (e.g. alphabet sort or not) and the contents (e.g. saint days) that should be included in the H&O section.

Therefore, there is a need to create a new text for the H&O guideline as well as few changes regarding what kind of holidays should be placed in the H&O section.

I would like to invite any interested parties to see and check carefully the proposed expansion of H&O guideline in here and leave comments, critics, or questions in its talk page.

Summary of the new H&O guideline

  • More specific guide for writing style and contents that can be placed into H&O.
  • Stricter rule for unofficial holidays and other "holidays".
  • New rules regarding Roman holidays.
  • New writing style for Christian feast days.
  • New rules regarding fixed days; "moving solar days" (e.g. Easter, Lent, President Day) can now be included in the H&O section; while "moving lunar days" (e.g. Ramadan, Chanukkah, Moon Festival) cannot be included.

--Rochelimit (talk) 20:08, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Linking to Silverlight content

I'm at the British Library Editathon in London (see WP:GLAM/BL). I was just having a discussion with a British Library curator and their site uses Microsoft Silverlight but with a fallback option. Are there any policies regarding external links or references and whether or not they point to content that requires proprietary plugins like Silverlight and Adobe Flash? I mean, you don't see that many YouTube links on Wikipedia. I can understand why there might be an issue, but I can't seem to find any policies on this. —Tom Morris 16:29, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't think it is an issue. The requirement for a RS is that it can be reasonably verified. We allow restricted access lists (i.e. academic journals, JSTOR etc.) because they can be verified trivially by a large group of Wikipedians. I reckon the same idea applies to plugin reliant content. --Errant (chat!) 16:35, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:EL#Rich_media, "Try to avoid directly linking to any content that requires special software, or an add-on to a browser. It is always preferred to link to a page rendered in normal HTML that contains embedded links to the rich media. Where a link to rich media is deemed appropriate, either as a direct link or embedded within an HTML page, an explicit indication of the technology needed to access the relevant content must be given". unmi 17:10, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Notability of people in Wikipedia

How do porn stars rate being in Wikipedia? For that matter others in the acting profession who are nothing more than bit players. Many of them have won no awards or nominations. And then there are bios written by people who must have been their friend or a relative as there are personal details that only close friends or family would know. I only know of Traci Lords and John Holmes. Traci was a porn star at 18 and washed out at 21 basically. John starred in many films and I have no idea what his claim to fame is. You seem to want only those who have notability as defined by your standards. It also seems if you can not search for it online the information does not exist. I really wonder how objective the all powerful administrators are here at Wikipedia. Sincerely, Dacorbandit (talk) 02:46, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Porn stars' notability is assessed according to WP:PORNSTAR, whereas the notability of others in the acting profession is assessed according to WP:NACTOR. The all powerful administrators are 94% objective, whereas the impotent administrators, and the administrators with moderate potency, are 95% objective. I hope this answers your questions. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:52, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
To the OP: The basic principle is, always has been, and always will be The general notability guidelines which is about the existance of source material on a subject. If extensive source material exists which can be used to research, write, and later verify a substantial article on a subject, that the subject is notable. The key is defining which source material counts as reliable and under which contexts, and in deciding how much source material is "enough". The individualized notability guidelines are largely about expanding what source material is needed, and what sorts of criteria would be a likely indicator that the source material exists, even if the article doesn't expressly cite it. The pornographic industry is BIG BUSINESS, with conventions, and trade journals, and all sorts of source material one can use to build an article around. That you, or I, or anyone else has not "heard" of a subject does not mean that the source material to write an article from does not exist. --Jayron32 03:05, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
To put it a different way. En-Wikipedia has 3.5 million articles. By your standards, it'd probably only have about 35,000. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 03:11, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

If I, as a trained journalist, said in one of my articles that I am 94% objective, I'd be laughed out of the profession. Coming close to the truth in an article is desirable generally, but claiming to be 94% objective is a little much. The man who wrote the recent WP bio about me (I'm David Joseph Marcou) knows a great deal about my life and career. What is wrong with that? You can't tell me pornstars have their bios written by professors at Harvard or Yale, or maybe they do, though they do put out a lot of publicity, apparently, sort of like government press releases. Sometimes the latter are fairly reliable; sometimes they're not. Personally, I know that it takes a heap of living and a lot of learned wisdom to render generally "objective" judgments, and your editors/administrators might now have obtained as much of either as you think. The man who wrote the Wikipedia bio about me listed 10-11 sources, at the start. He was adding more, with your prompts, and at least half were online, so you didn't even have to go to a library and read a book, though my autobiography isn't online and is only in one or two libraries ("If I Do the Research, the Lord Brings Me Luck"); but I've seen bios on your system with only three sources, and little notability is how I translate the bio material itself, and you keep those bios up there, not slating them for deletion the day they go up, like the one about me. Politics perhaps? Since when isn't the Pulitzer Prize my group and I were nominated for in 2000, not notable? Or the two Pulitzers I'm currently being nominated for? And since when doesn't writing the first article, it still seems to me, about letters from Mother Teresa (17 letters from her to me), which I wrote in 1994 for Catholic Digest, not count as notable? And since when don't photos and books by me in many leading libraries and archives around the world, not count as notable? I've got many works in various Smithsonian Archives; forget my portrait of Bert Hardy and his dogs in the British National Portrait Gallery Collection, though it's a better portrait than most professionals could take, and forget my books in the MOMA Library, the International Center of Photography Library, the George Eastman House Library, and national libraries in many parts of the world. And forget the eight beautiful Presidential Campaign photos of mine published in the NY Times online exhibit 'Documenting the Decade are they not notable? – simply because you can't search my name generally on the NYTimes site and easily find those photos, doesn't mean they're not there. If you look through the exhibit, carefully, you'll see every one of my eight photos there, when hardly anyone else among the hundreds of photographers in that exhibit has more than two photos there. But don't try to forget my son, Matthew, who serves in the US Army, whom I taught to use, when he was 3 years old, a computer keyboard and a camera, both of which he now handles magnificently. In fact, when he was 13, he typed the entire 100,000-word manuscript for the first volume of 'Spirit of America', which I directed and co-edited, and which won a national award. My son, by the way, is a superb young man, and I actually did have something positive to do with his upbringing. You can, I'd guess, forget the 11 years I taught adults writing and photography at a technical college, when we turned out about a dozen good anthologies, formed up, with notable additions, to the group I direct, the American Writers and Photographers Alliance, which has included the likes of Annie Leibovitz, John Loengard, Bert Hardy, Harry Benson, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dmitri Kessel, Vernon Biever, John Biever, Msgr. Bernard McGarty, and sponsors like the owners of Kwik Trip Stores (the Zietlows), and a whole lot of other good people, all of whom contribute to our books. Or the poems and plays I've written, including the sequel to O'Casey's 'Juno and the Paycock', mine being 'Song of Joy--Or the Old Reliables', which was critiqued positively by the National Theatre of Ireland, and successfully produced in 2008. What did I do in my life to warrant such unfair treatment from your administrators-editors? I assure you, though I'm not perfect, I didn't do anything as wrong as what you call “objective criticism” by Wikipedia administrators-editors.-djm. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:25, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

For others reading this, here is a link to the recently deleted article mentioned above. Mlm42 (talk) 04:56, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
Can I ask what this issue has to do with the notability or otherwise of pornstars? If you have a dispute with Wikipedia editors, you'd do a lot better to raise it appropriately, rather than engaging in tangential point-scoring. Without seeing the article in question, I can't judge one way or another, but it appears from the comments that the major problems were with sourcing, and a neutral POV - neither of which are particularly apparent here. You might also do well to read WP:COI, and see why we tend to discourage people getting over-involved in creating articles about themselves. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:24, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I've struck part of my above comment, since it has become evident to me that I can write something I can't believe anyone could possibly think was intended seriously, and it can, regardless, be taken seriously by someone who goes on to write things that I find hard to believe are intended seriously either. If I weren't so determined to assume good faith, I'd assume we were being trolled here.
But anyway, why don't you ask your esteemed biographer to collect together references for all of your many notable achievements, and put together an article - neutrally worded - in a sandbox in his userspace until it's suitable to be recreated as an encyclopedic article? With all the many resources available, it would seem to be a very easy task compared with convincing us of whatever you're planning to convince us about pornstars. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 06:16, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

I had not finished writing the article at the time it was deleted. Why the rush? I stated it needed some editing and someone commented about better clarification on some points. Perhaps an article should be up for deletion when completed and under review in order to move to the main page. I have nothing against people being porn stars, but I associate pornography with drugs, degrading females, and possibly organized crime. I looked at the notability for porn stars and in my opinion it was drawn up by people who like porn or a group in the porn industry that also drew up the award guidelines. Sincerely, Dacorbandit (talk) 04:36, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Articles in the main "article space" need to meet minimum standards or they may be deleted. If you are working on an article, and you want to avoid it being deleted, you need to create a draft of the article in your userspace. Instructions for doing so are listed at Help:Userspace draft. There is a way to create the article to allow you the time to craft it without it being deleted. Casting aspersians against others because you don't like how they live their lives is not it. Instead, follow the instructions at Help:Userspace draft, take your time, and make a compliant article. THAT is the right thing to do. --Jayron32 21:56, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

"It also seems if you can not search for it online the information does not exist."
There's a reason real academic works rarely cite online sources. A lot of really good info doesn't make it online.--AerobicFox (talk) 07:27, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Cquote, a massively misused template

Recently I have been working on cleaning up the usage of {{cquote}}. That template drops fancy quote graphics around the quoted text - and is for use on pull quotes. WP:MOSQUOTE (and the template doc) say very clearly and unambiguously that it should be used sparsely and only for pull quotes - instead normal quotes should use {{quote}} or {{quotation}}. However; I suspect the vast majority of article misuse the template - I've been through about... 100 of the transclusions, and I would say only about 5 to 10 use it for pull quotes. Which is a bit mad. I think the reason it gets misused is because it "looks pretty" (at least, that is why I started using it, wrongly, before reading our guidelines).

The questions I have are:

  • Can anyone think of a good way of going through and fixing these quickly? It's a massive backlog in excess of 10K articles!
  • Also can anyone think of a good way to promote the correct use of quote templates?

Any help (particularly fixing the issue :D) is much appreciated! --Errant (chat!) 21:12, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Do you have any examples of articles that actually use pull quotes? Sounds more like the mosquote / template should be updated if usage is so drastically different than anticipated. unmi 21:24, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Criticism of religion --Cybercobra (talk) 22:46, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, that article actually misuses cquote... (perhaps that is what you intended to show). Edvard Munch#Legacy has a good use of pull quote. I considered proposing changing how the templates are used; but on consideration this way is good. Normal quotes are best without the images, and pull quotes look good with the images for emphasis (that being the point of a pull quote) --Errant (chat!) 23:34, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The article has 2 possibly incorrect uses, the rest are correct. Be sure to scroll thru the entire article, it uses the template several times (e.g.). --Cybercobra (talk) 23:52, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't see any examples of pull quote in those articles, in each of those cases they are 'normal' quotes of Munch and Marx respectively. I would imagine that very few of our articles make use of pull quotes at all. unmi 00:14, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
See also {{Cquote2}}, {{Cquotetxt}}, {{Lquote}}, {{Rquote}} and {{Vquote}}. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 01:12, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh, sorry CyberCobra, I should have scrolled down :( @un☯mi: What's your definition of a pull quote? On WP my understanding (and I believe the guidelines note) it is a quote used at the start of a section without immediate introduction --Errant (chat!) 07:07, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
I believe that our usage of pull quote is no different from that of the pull quote article. It is just that we almost never use it, I would imagine that it would become a NPOV / UNDUE nightmare discussion on many articles, and perhaps it simply doesn't look encyclopedic as it is mainly used in news journalism. I could be mistaken ofcourse. unmi 16:55, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It's not a good idea to go through articles changing this. If people aren't using it the way the MoS says, then consider changing the MoS to bring it into line with actual practice. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:13, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

I doubt that would work. The current MOS system is the best. Changing it has not caused any grief so far; one or two questioned it and were quite happy (and in agreement). Which is why I am still doing it. If someone wants to propose a change, go for it. But I like the status quo :) --Errant (chat!) 21:28, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
I can't see where the MoS advises against it. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 11:23, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
WP:MOSQUOTE states "Do not enclose block quotations in quotation marks (and especially avoid decorative quotation marks in normal use, such as those provided by the {{cquote}} template, which are reserved for pull quotes)." One of the more concise definitions of a pull quote:

Used to attract attention, especially in long articles, a pull-quote is a small selection of text "pulled out and quoted" in a larger typeface. A pull-quote may be framed by rules, placed within the article, span multiple columns, or be placed in an empty column near the article. Pull-quotes provide a teaser that entices the reader into the story.

The key here is "pulled out and quoted"— the pull quote is a copy of content in the article that is pulled out for emphasis.
I don't think I have ever seen a pull quote used in Wikipedia that wasn't simply a block quote styled as a pull quote. I'm also not sure why we are discussing this on the policy page. Yes, there are issues with how the templates are used, but this should be discussed at WP:MOSQUOTE and then the template pages. I'm don't think we need journalistic elements such as pull quotes, kickers and decks to entice the reader, but we need to discuss this. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:37, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Year 0

In the article 0 (year) is claimed that year 0 does not exist. However, look at my comment All counting, including time counting starts from 0, please. --WPK (talk) 10:33, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes, and look at the commentary on your comment. Denimadept (talk) 17:15, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Retrospective correcting of edit summaries

How many times have we pressed "save page" only to realise that we have forgotten to include the edit summary, tick the "minor edit" box or have omitted useful information or made an obvious typo? Is there any way that edit summaries can be retrospectively amended? Should this ability be restricted to the original editor and, perhaps, admins. --Bermicourt (talk) 12:38, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Have you looked at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive_30#Being able to edit your edit summaries, Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 61#Ability to edit edit summary, Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 44#Edit summary grace period?..? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 13:40, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the references to previous debates in 2008 and 2010. The ability to change in preferences at "Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary" solves one of the scenarios, but not the others. The poll in the 2008 debate saw a slight majority of voters not in favour of an ability for editors to correct their edit summaries; the one in 2010 was slightly biased in favour, so the balance may be swinging. Some of the arguments against seem a little weak IMHO, provided amendments are limited to the original editor and admins. Since summaries are not articles I see no need for an edit summary history - it's only a description of the edit which can be viewed anyway. --Bermicourt (talk) 15:34, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Proposal regarding notability criteria for criminals


More comments would be welcome. --FormerIP (talk) 04:26, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

What is notable about ethnicity?

A fairly simple question. What is notable about ethnicity? Everybody seems obliged to 'belong' to 'an ethnicity', at least by the norms of contemporary Western culture. If everyone has it, how is their ethnicity notable? It clearly isn't. Yet Wikipedia is plagued by endless disputes about lists of 'ethnicity X', category 'ethnicity Y', and even lists of 'citizens of A who are ethnically one (or more) of X, Y, Z or similar' (see List of Hispanic and Latino Americans). I fail to see how any of this merits inclusion in an encyclopaedia. This is not a database (or at least, it shouldn't be), so why create arbitrary lists and categories about non-notable facts about (supposedly) notable people? I suspect I'm going to told that I'm wrong, but can someone actually tell me why this particular arbitrary social construct is more significant than people's star signs or shoe size? Unless they can, I'd like to suggest we stop this ethnobureaucratic data-mining exercise, and delete all these lists and categories for good. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:27, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Usually there is nothing truly notable about a person's ethnicity. There are however enough exceptions to this blanket statement (cases where there a person's ethnicity is strongly related to the reason for their notability) to make a rule banning mentions to ethnic background unworkable. Unfortunately this means cleaning up articles after the periodic appearance of someone obsessed with ethnicity/religion/nationality/blood type/anatomical measurements of porn stars feels the need to add (usually unsourced speculation about) such characteristics. Such is life on Wikipedia. --Allen3 talk 21:51, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually, a person does not get an article/is not considered notable simply because of their ethnicity, so "List of Hispanic and Latino Americans" is a misnomer. Rather, it's a list of notable hispanic/latino Americans, for example, and we leave out the "notable" part because it's usually inherent to having an article for any duration of time. The reason I point this out is because it helps other people looking for people who fit a given list, which is the reason we have the list in the first place—to make it easier for people to find information on encyclopedic subjects/people in the most requested ways. --slakrtalk / 21:55, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
...and I should note that if a person doesn't have an article and isn't notable, then they shouldn't be on the list, and you are free to remove their presumably redlinked/unlinked entry per being bold and {{sofixit}}ing it --slakrtalk / 22:01, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
It is funny that this is being raised here. This very issue blew up being resolved simply by sidestepping the issue on Talk:Tesla Motors#Nikola Tesla's ethnicity, essentially arguing that the ethnicity was simply off topic to the article and detracted from the main point of the article. I am personally rather sensitive to the issue so far as I dare somebody to define what ethnicity that I am myself, shy of simply being called "an American", but that is rather ambiguous at best. If somebody has self-proclaimed a certain ethnicity, I say let them have it even if their skin tone and eye color doesn't necessarily match what they claim. If that claim can be reliably sourced that they have claimed such an ethnicity, what else can we do when writing articles? Otherwise, it ought to be a non-issue. Clearly some people are linked with certain ethnic groups and that defines who they are, but otherwise assigning an ethnicity through any other arbitrary basis is pointless. It certainly shouldn't be assumed based on place of birth or some other sort of measure other than self-identification. --Robert Horning (talk) 00:57, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Some good points here. Quite apart from notability, there are serious problems of verifiability and the vagueness of the definitions and boundaries between ethnic groups makes it all but impossible to provide uncontroversial and reliable information, even if it was worth providing, which it isn't. I would like to see ethnicity purged from all infoboxes. It should only be mentioned if it is a notable element of the person's biography. We should not include it as a matter of course, hence the reason it needs to come out of all infoboxes. --DanielRigal (talk) 01:05, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
What some people would like socially and what is are different things. The Olympic games exist because people really are interested in things like that. I agree it shouldn't be mentioned unless it has been noted rather than people ferriting round and trying to figure out something to write down. I see no reason to remove it from infoboxes though - just we should have some way of warning people about filling in those boxes that there is no duty to spend effort trying to fill them, if it isn't noted then don't. Dmcq (talk) 15:10, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

"Notable" is a poor choice of words, seeing as we use it to mean "subject that merits its own article"; using it to further mean "fact that merits inclusion in an article" is just confusing. Or maybe it's intended to equivocate, to implicitly raise the bar for fact inclusion higher than merely verifiable and encyclopedic?

In any case, it's simply ridiculous to argue in the absolute that ethnicity is never relevant. Ethnic divisions often remain within regions after centuries regardless of political boundaries (former Yugoslavia, anyone?), retain community coherence within immigrant populations after many generations, have had distinct and identifiable impacts on certain professions, and have historically been the subject of persecution (to the extreme of ethnic cleansing), and are the basis for cultural pride organizations. So in many cases, it's not only appropriate to mention ethnicity in an encyclopedia article, but necessary for an understanding of the subject. And lists, which index subjects by shared facts (not merely those for which they are notable) are appropriately used to index common heritage, which often correlates with common experiences. So the claim that none of it merits inclusion in an encyclopedia is not even worth arguing with. "If everyone has it, how is it notable?" Everyone has a birthdate, too.

However...ethnicity doesn't always merit mention in a subject's article because not all bio subjects have significant, identifiable ethnicities apart from their nationalities. Those who claim that ethnicity is always relevant (or even meaningfully verifiable) are being no more reasonable than those who claim that it's never relevant. To that extent, I'd agree with the removal of it from infoboxes, if that field somehow compels people to try and fill it in regardless of whether it's meaningful. Infobox fields also can't really include any nuance or explanation, so while it may be worth mentioning in article text that someone had a Cossack grandfather or whatever, it would not be equally appropriate to apply an infobox label on that basis. postdlf (talk) 16:21, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't think that anybody is saying it is never relevant, just that it is not relevant as a matter of course. Where it is relevant, its relevance should always be explained, as context is everything here. It is not an objective and universally understood trait of the sort that belongs in an infobox (like age or nationality). Without context a statement of ethnicity is meaningless. If somebody is described as "Jewish", to pick a particularly difficult example, that could mean almost anything or almost nothing depending on the context. Some people consider themselves "Irish American", to pick another example, but objective analysis of their family tree might show this to be more to do with a desire to highlight one particular Irish ancestor, or to buy into a cultural grouping, than a general reflection of their actual descent. We are never going to boil this down to a simple phrase in an infobox without being misleading. --DanielRigal (talk) 20:20, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you except for your first statement; someone is saying that it's never relevant. Unless I misread the comment that opened this thread. postdlf (talk) 21:12, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I started this thread by arguing that lists and categories of ethnicity were unnecessary, and should be deleted. I'd also agree that ethnicity shouldn't be included in infoboxes, by extension (I hadn't thought of that). I'm not suggesting that ethnicity shouldn't be discussed in BLPs, where sourced and relevant. As for what constitutes sourcing, and what the standard for relevance should be, I think that is an argument for another time. My point is that such lists usually consist of nothing but any example of a person notable by Wikipedia standards that somebody decides meets the (sometimes undefined) 'ethnic' criteria. If the ethnicity of the person isn't 'notable' in itself, how can a list of such persons by ethnicity be 'notable'? It may keep ethnoboosters and the like happy, but I don't think it belongs in an encyclopaedia. It is imposing undue weight to a particular (often contentious) aspect of peoples lives. Given the frequent abuses made by data-mining exercises elsewhere, I don't think Wikipedia should be engaging in the same practices without a strong justification. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:46, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
It's a tough call. For someone like, say, Elie Wiesel or Jackie Robinson, you would have a VERY hard time claiming that their race or ethnicity was not intricately tied to their reasons for being notable. However, that doesn't mean that EVERY person's ethnicity is tied up in their notability. Does it matter much that Brett Favre is of French extraction? Probably not, at least as far as his ethnicity has little to no bearing on why he is famous. The same could NOT be said for Elie Wiesel's Jewishness being insignificant. In that case, it is a VERY significant part of his story. --Jayron32 22:53, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. I was going to use Cesar Chavez or Barack Obama as examples, but make the same point you did. Sometimes a person's ethnicity is frequently a focus of reliable sources talking about the subject. This means that we should give it some weight too. Since the ethnicity of Donald Trump is not given as much weight in reliable sources, we shouldn't give it much weight here either. -- Jrtayloriv (talk) 23:04, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

What's notable about nationality? Nothing. Being Italian, French or British is hardly a notable feature per se. Yet we continue to indicate nationality in practically all our bios, as far as I know. What's different about ethnicity? I can agree there can be a few contentious cases, but in most cases just follow what reliable sources say and let's stick at that; what's the advantage of removing such information? --Cyclopiatalk 01:16, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

But often it isn't 'information' at all: it is opinion (actually, since it is a social construct, it is always opinion), whereas nationality is a legal status. Often the 'ethnic categories' used in articles aren't those of the person in question, which are very often situational: If I'm discussing UK foreign policy with a US citizen for example I'd be 'British', wheras if I'm watching England beat Scotland at a football match, I'd be English. This isn't unusual - in fact all the evidence suggests that it is the norm. Enthnicity isn't an attribute, but an attitude adopted in a particular social context. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:45, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Well put. Nationality has a precise definition (i.e. citizenship), whereas ethnicity doesn't. For this reason ethnicity shouldn't be in infoboxes.
That said, I don't think we should delete all ethnicity-based lists.. for example the existence of List of Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients appears to be justified by this Department of Defence list. So ethnicity-based lists which have reliable sources to back them up should stay. But other ones should probably go. Mlm42 (talk) 01:06, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────To the OP: Reliable sources, from birth certificate to obituary and most things in between, frequently note a person's ethnicity, and Wikipedia handles biographies from the point of view of presenting accurate and relevant data as found in reliable sources. From a personal, philosophical standpoint, I agree with you that ethnicity is merely a social construct, and carries no more weight than that which society gives it. But oh, what weight society has been giving it down through the ages and still today, wouldn't you agree? After all, who have we been and what have our experiences, opportunities and challenges been but for our social constructs? Before you answer that, I would point out that nationality, religion, democracy, capitalism, and sexuality are "merely" social constructs as well. Abrazame (talk) 01:55, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Can you give examples of ethnicity being included on birth certificates? AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:58, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I bet some countries have had that as standard at different times. But think it is a little OT. (ETA: you can't say WP isn't about learning things [1] --FormerIP (talk) 02:16, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
"Color or Race" isn't ethnicity, though the concepts are clearly interlinked. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:25, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster's definition of ethnic is "of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background". My frame of reference is the U.S., where race and tribal affiliation have been common identifiers on birth certificates. That's two of the definitions of ethnicity. There is a place on the certificate that indicates whether the person is of Hispanic origin, and if so, from what country. That's another definition or two or three. If you are born in the U.S. you are American by nationality unless you elect to go elsewhere and give up your American citizenship. That's another definition of ethnicity. Names have commonly been used as indicators of cultural and religious background. Those are two more definitions of ethnicity. Abrazame (talk) 02:36, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Right, and the fact that you have provided so many different "definitions" of ethnicity, supports the claim that it doesn't, in fact, have a precise definition. The Merriam-Webster definition you quoted is particularly vague, due to it's use of the word "or".. how does one decide which trait to use? Classifying people by religion is different from classifying people by which languages they speak; so it is an imprecise definition, and hence unsuitable for infoboxes. Mlm42 (talk) 02:57, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for illustrating my point. There are multiple definitions of ethnicity, often mutually incompatible. All the more reason for not trying to insist that a particular one is 'correct'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:48, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Umm, if you open a dictionary, you'll find that there are multiple definitions of most concepts and most words, often mutually incompatible. That doesn't mean we stop speaking and writing and go back to pictographs and gestures. Additionally, there is nothing in my previous posts to you that supports any claim of mutual incompatibility to the definitions of ethnicity. We don't make up definitions, and we don't refuse up-to-date, commonly used, primary dictionary definitions, we go with accurate usage of real words as represented in reliable sources. Abrazame (talk) 03:06, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
This is sincerely interesting, but on the case in point, why do we have to become philosophers of ethnicity now? We should just stick to what sources say. If all sources converge on an ethnicity for a subject, there's no reason not to use it. I personally don't mind if it's ethnicity, soccer team preference or jabberwockyness: if it's properly sourced and not controversial, I see no reason not to include it. Looks like we're trying to find solutions to a non-problem. --Cyclopiatalk 03:05, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Race and ethnicity exist as real concepts. They are also widely viewed as being social constructs, but Wikipedia would disintegrate in an instant if we were to delete all material relating to social constructs. On the other hand, there may be a good case for saying that the ethnic identity (as well as identity in terms of religion, sexuality etc) is often included in WP articles in a way that is WP:UNDUE when it is given prominence in an infobox or in the first line of a lead. IMO it would be a good thing if Wikipedia operated an explicit presumption against this. I think the debate gets confused because there is another (IMO less clear-cut) view out there that identifying a person's race, religion etc (although I concede that sexuality may be a different case here) should be judged according to a higher than normal standard of verifiability. I think care in keeping the two (legitimate in their own ways, but different) debates separate would help to avoid confusion. Just an opinion. --FormerIP (talk) 02:58, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Of course the concepts exist; but as AndyTheGrump points out, they often depend on context (unlike other attributes mentioned above, like nationality or religion); this is the problem with having an imprecise definition, and this is why they are unsuitable for infoboxes. (I agree, I think we should keep the verifiability issue is separate) Mlm42 (talk) 03:10, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Respectfully, I think you should rethink your statement that nationality and religion are concepts that don't depend on context. What war had nothing to do with the context of nationality and/or religion, and what country hasn't been shaped by or is not currently waging a war or two? Perhaps more importantly is what nation or religion is a monolithic thing devoid of not merely nuance but raging factions?
I understood we were talking about categories, not infoboxes. Regarding infoboxes, I think they require a higher degree of corroboration than categorization. That's not to say that categorization doesn't have to be as verifiable, it means that infobox data needs to be not only verifiable but prominent in the person's own experience and/or the coverage of them in reliable sources.
To Jayron32 who contrasted Elie Wiesel and Jackie Robinson with Brett Farvre, I take that in good faith but I take exception to that. We don't limit article text or categorization to the elements of a person's life that contributed to, were a hurdle for, or a major focus of, those aspects of their lives that made them notable. For example, we note in infoboxes the name of a person's spouse — which in turn elevates heterosexuality (or, for you sticklers, adherence to a heteronormative social construct) to major prominence — whether or not that spouse or the subject's sexuality figures into any other aspect of the subject's notabilty. I know nothing about Brett Farvre's personal identification with his Frenchness, but to suggest that it should be less relevant to a reader who is interested in learning about notable people of French extraction is missing the point of categorization, which isn't to lump together only the most obvious, but the less obvious, notable examples of that category. And if one argues that Favre's French ancestry is irrelevant, why not argue that his Choctaw ancestry is similarly irrelevant, when both are noted in the "Early years" section of his bio? I would think it was obvious that someone of or interested in a particular heritage might be interested in others who share that heritage, and isn't that the point of categorization? We don't want to imply that you're only relevant to others of your heritage if your life story revolves around it — part of living outside of a religious dictatorship is having the freedom to live a life where you're not reaffirming your ethnicity and nationality and religion with your every step. But that doesn't make you a heathen gypsy. Abrazame (talk) 04:21, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I think we're getting a bit far a field here. The argument is as follows: 1) Things in infoboxes shouldn't depend on context. 2) Ethnicity often depends on context. 3) Therefore ethnicity should not be in infoboxes. Where is your disagreement, exactly? Mlm42 (talk) 04:42, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
The OP was regarding categories and lists, not infoboxes. It is the OP to which I was responding. To disagreement: I take you now to be implying that we have come to an agreement that ethnicity should be in categories and lists, but that it should not be in infoboxes?
And I disagree with the specious logic of your formula that anything for which there may be relevant context should be omitted from an infobox. I think that should be decided on a case-by-case basis and would likely adhere to your formula most, though probably not all, of the time. I mean, occupation frequently requires context — in some cases a person could be notable for something outside of his occupational field, or could have held a different position in that field when they became notable than subsequently. They could have earned vastly more at one occupation but be vastly more interested in another and more experienced in yet another. We list several of the more notable or interesting and let people figure it out.
Political party often requires context — for example, tea party Republicans or blue dog Democrats. Note the sixteen words of context we give over five lines for Bernie Sanders' one-word party status of "independent". And could anybody argue that this context is not relevant, or that the fact that it requires such context renders his political party as too complicated or too vague to put into an infobox? No, because some people's identification with things are going to strike some others as vague, but nevertheless be a meaningful part of their identity. On the other hand, some things are going to strike the individual themselves as tertiary, while it is directly or indirectly a major part of the reason for a person's path in life, how others viewed that aspect of their identity. That something requires context does not decrease its relevancy or primacy. It seems to me that what is being argued here is that some Jews or African Americans or whatnot are really Jewish or Black, while others aren't so much so, and a lot of white people are just plain white, and because we don't really feel like grappling with our construct, we're going to turn a blind eye to the concept for everyone. (One could argue the same thing about the social construct of marriage; some take it so lightly or are so uncommitted to it, or it is being given to gays, so let's just drop its inclusion in an infobox—or just call everything a civil union.) I think "colorblind" is a beautiful metaphor, and unless people intended that we all become a single ethnicity, they meant that we would retain our cultures and our identities but stop seeing them as impediments (or as mandates). But whatever perspective any of us hold on any of that, that too is a social construct. I think as editors we need to acknowledge there are spectrums, however, with things that fall at a wide spread across that spectrum even though they have infobox data attesting to a single word or concept.
I find it laughable that Dylan Ratigan's infobox calls him "Irish-American" (much less that it's appended by "cite needed") while Elie Wiesel's infobox does not address his heritage—though not as laughable as when editors were persistently re-adding to Ratigan's infobox the unsourced claim that he was "Jewish". Abrazame (talk) 07:54, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
CyclOpia has a point; if reliable sources say someone's ethnicity is something, then why not include it in the article? And indeed, I suppose I would agree if it's well sourced, then whether "people of ethnicity X" has it's own category should be decided by CfD, as usual.. I certainly don't think we should remove all these categories. I think Lists are okay, as long as there are reliable sources that have made similar lists (which seems to often not be the case).
My problem with putting "ethnicity" in infoboxes, is that this implicitly assumes that there is a consistent notion of "ethnicity" that allows us to pigeon-hole large groups of people. This assumption has been called into question. I would say, even though we can provide sources saying a particular person is of ethnicity X, there is a problem with the inconsistency of the usage of the term "ethnicity". One source may use a different definition to that of another source. For nationality, no such problem exists, simply ask: "are they a citizen of that country?" This is a legal status, with a definite answer. Similarly for marrital status. The Merriam-Webster definition of ethnicity show there's no precise answer for ethnicity. Even in cases where the person's ethnicity is extremely important to the subject, to include it in an infobox is inappropriate, because it implies there is a consistent definition for lots of different people. Mlm42 (talk) 02:41, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Ethnicity AND Nationality can be both precise and imprecise( and cherishing or denigrating) terms and concepts depending on context and use. The key element with ethnicity for living persons is self-identification whether it be the Sami of Finland or the Travellers of Ireland. Ethnicity is important for many reasons, including group pride, particularly for oppressed groups. It has become important to some Israeli politicians to state that there is no such thing as a Palestinian for instance. Tesla is an interesting case as borders move and many wish to claim geniuses as their own. Irish Travellers are denied ethnic recognition in their own country(mostly because it would be too expensive) but granted it in Britain. Irish police officers sarcastically refer to arrested Travellers as "E.Ms" (ethnic minorities) Nomadism and ethnicity is a fascinating area of this debate and it's literature and legislation can light up a debate such as this one as ethnic nomads are often both pre- and cross-national defying cosy categorization.
A similar effect occurs with Irish writers and sports people who achieve success while resident in Britain and who are described as British on the telly. A fundamental polarity in Wikipedia is between political correctness and usefulness. If I look up George Bernard Shaw or Tesla I may want to know of their cultural and ethnic backround for many reasons and we should not presume to dictate what readers seek.
There is a photo of an Apache attack helicopter on one editors user page with the jolly caption "In Israel, the AH-64 is the second leading cause of terrorist deaths, after suicide." Some might see this as a harmless piece of wry undergraduate humour while non-Jewish editors or readers from surrounding regions and countries (or within 1947 Israel) might read it as grossly offensive in the light of land grabbing and civilian deaths perpetrated using it. The ethnicity question leaks out beyond mere lists.
By the measure of the previous editor's entry how would one categorize or list an Arab poet who is an Israeli resident ? Such considerations may become more central in the lead up the the Wikipedia convention in Israel later this year.--Tumadoireacht (talk) 16:47, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
In BLPs, the assertion of race and ethnicity should be taken at face value as it is written in sources, just as the names of their spouse or some other type of People Magazine statistic of hair color, body dimensions, or character (such as Grumpy -- yeah, how about a grumpy category?). But the grand categorization and listing of such things does lead to odd and difficult-to-spot errors. I have gotten into minor disputes over categorization in BLPs because adding a [[Category:]] needs no reference... But even if it did, problems can arise. For example, I could put the Bill Clinton article in an African-American category and back it up with tongue-in-cheek sources. I would agree in part with the OP and say that we need to trim down some categories related to WP:BLP that could be offensive. As to dead people like Jackie Robinson with a notable ethnicity, I could still consider deleting the category. I just want to caution that should the English Wikipedia have a default race? Or a default sex? Or a default attraction to the opposite sex? And that anyone outside of these norms gets another category under their belt?! Due to their unusual, social/racial/ethnic/sexual status, notable or not? Is there is undue WP:undue weight given because of the categories? I like to saw logs! (talk) 12:02, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Richard Holbrooke, whose grandparents were all Jewish, did not receive a Jewish upbringing from his atheist parents, and went to Quaker meetings on Sundays as a child. Throughout his life he seems not to have identified as Jewish or observed Jewish tradition. He is included in category:Jewish Americans on the basis of race. I don't know. It just seems kind of creepy to me, cataloging people according to race. Not sure why. But it does. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:32, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I concur. Let me try to analyse why. Feketekave (talk) 20:10, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

My impression is that "ethnicity" was a fairly uncommon and largely technical word until WWII and its immediate aftermath. What happened then was that the concept of "race" got called into question because

  • the memory of what happens when people are classified by binary categories based on descent was still very fresh,
  • both biology and the social sciences had developed far enough to critique both the applicability of the concept of "race" to human beings and, more broadly, the misconception that descent somehow ought to determine somebody's nationality, allegiances, religion, culture or mentality.

Thus the word "ethnicity" - understood to be some necessarily fuzzy sort of way to refer to, say, a group of people currently sharing a language, place, ties of kinship, etc.- came to be preferred. See, e.g., The Race Question. The issue is, of course, that some have simply switched to using the word "ethnicity" while keeping - consciously or unconsciously - the mental habits that went with the use of the word "race". If an "ethnicity", however defined, is not used to talk about a set of people, but rather to label, list and classify individuals on the basis of descent - with the inevitable implication that this somehow determines who they truly are - then "ethnicity" is simply being used as a Trojan horse for some sort of nationalism or the same old ideological habits that go with the use of the term "race". What to do in practice?

  • In the body of the article, we should try to describe (a person's background and actions), rather than define (a person in terms of ancestry). If, say, somebody's background was particularly marked by the fact that his grandma spoke Fooian or his grandfather wanted to make him into a minister of the Fooese religion, then this is interesting and can be noted. If Y had serious difficulties at time t because Z thought Y was a Fooian (due to his real or imagined descent from Foos) then this can and should be noted at the appropriate point. However, by and large, the current level of detail given in many articles is excessive - and does tend towards a definitory role. (There are many articles that are good exceptions).
  • The current policy that no ethnicity should be assigned in the lead paragraph is a good one, and should probably be extended to the first paragraph of a biographical article proper. This is so because the beginning of an article tends to define a subject. Giving information in the first paragraph that would make many people infer that X must have been a Fooian can be OK, if such information is relevant in and of itself; saying "X was born in a Fooish family" or even "X was of Fooish origin" is more doubtful, especially when these are set expressions commonly used in Fooish or anti-Fooish publications to mean "X was a Foo".
  • Category labels, infobox ethnicity entries and lists - already highly controversial, as this discussion and many others already show - should be done away with. They are binary, defining and totalising. Lists are creepy for several related reasons. First, making lists of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, etc. (and "ethnic Germans"!) based on racially deterministic criteria was a key Nazi habit; it is the first step towards dehumanisation - and it infringes on an individual's autonomy even if it is meant in a supposedly good way. (What if the said "ethnic German" had no intention of having anything to do with Germans, especially list-makers, thank you very much?) Second, having a list of (say) Jewish Nobel Prizes while we don't (and shouldn't!) have a list of Jewish Slave Traders induces systemic bias (sorry). I'll let others continue the list of reasons.
  • The fact that a concept has many varying definitions does not make it in and itself useless; however, it does call into question its usefulness as an encyclopaedic category.
  • It will not do to have no policy on the matter. If there is none, then we will inevitably tilt heavily (as we do nowadays) towards quasi-racial classification, or any other sort of classification used by anybody anywhere. Even if 99% of sources do not assign any sort of ethnicity to Mr. X, and 1% do, this 1% is currently enough for any enthusiastic proponent of classification to go and assign the label he or she supports.

Note, moreover, an added advantage of removing category labels and the like consistently. In the current situation, removing or not including a label stating that X was a Foo is taken by some, rightly or wrongly, as an implication that X was not a Foo, or that X was some sort of entity called a Non-Foo. If such labels were not used to begin with, there would be no such implication. For example: the facts that Evo Morales grew up bilingual in Spanish and Aymara, that he was born to peasant parents, etc., are interesting and relevant. At the same time, putting "Ethnicity: Aymara" in the infobox seems (to me) to be unnecessary and redundant (in spite of his self-identification as the first indigenous president of his country). If I went and argued for it to be removed now, I could be mistaken to support the position (which I personally find perfectly obnoxious) that Morales is not Aymara, or not Amerindian, for this or that reason (Spanish last name, being educated (see Vargas Llosa's infamous position piece on this), etc.). If the infobox entry were consistently removed, there would be no such implication in its absence - and the article wouldn't lose anything by its absence either. Feketekave (talk) 20:10, 18 January 2011 (UTC) I think one issue with ethnicity on the English-speaking WP is that it is mainly an American construct; the vast majority of Americans are not far generationally removed from another country. However, most other countries (as far as my experience goes) are fairly homogeneous. I apologize to the non-American editors here on the English WP for having to try and understand America's identity crisis. Angryapathy (talk) 21:03, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

The U.S. isn't the only country with a significant immigrant population, nor is that the only precondition of ethnic identity being relevant. See, for example, List of ethnic groups in China, Ethnic issues in Japan, Kurdistan, Albanians in Kosovo... And that's just looking at the present day. Categorically claiming that it's not relevant or significant to biographies is no more reasonable than claiming that it's always relevant. postdlf (talk) 21:36, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
(ec with above post) There are so many problems with that statement I hardly know where to begin. Millions upon millions of American families have lived in the States for over a hundred years or more. Immigration occurs in pretty much every country, how those immigrants are integrated into society is highly variable from country to country and even from one city to the next. It's certainly not an "american only" issue. Europe has been having it's own identity crisis trying to figure out deal with all the African and Central Asian immigrants they have gotten in recent years. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:51, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm not making a claim that "America is the only nation with immigrants!" I am saying that compared to say Britain or Italy, the majority of people who call themselves American also identify with another nationality from which they may be generations removed. The core population of most countries identify as being that country's nationality AND ethnicity. I was just pointing out that America's ability to identify with another ethicity might be foreign to non-American editors of the English language WP. And yeah, I probably should ahve said that all in the first place. Angryapathy (talk) 22:06, 18 January 2011 (UTC)


While I no longer edit Wikipedia, it was always a pet-peeve of mine the bullying that went around, especially at places like AN/I where if you made a complaint about bullying some would come right out and admit, "I dont have to defend my actions, I just have to bloody the witness so you look worse" (exact quote). And I always thought that was a reprehensible action in a court of law, it was just as bad in a place like Wikipedia. I tried numerous times to bring up bullying and have a discussion, and in light of the laws passed in the state of Missouri, USA and the national focus on Albany County, NY, USA bringing to court the first enforcement of an anti-bullying law (there's being one of the broadest- "including the act of communicating through electronic means by posting or disseminating embarrassing, false, or sexual information with no legitimate purpose in order to humiliate, torment or harm another person" and it can be a single time as opposed to ongoing). I think a discussion regarding how bullying is tolerated and implementation of zero-tolerance regardless of a user's contribution history. Have fun discussing. I came only to foster discussion, I have other things to do now. (talk) 21:19, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Zero tolerance policies of any sort often lead to absurd results and lack proven effectiveness. --Cybercobra (talk) 19:33, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Anon poster sounds like a troll. - Denimadept (talk) 19:49, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
The OP is most likely a sockpuppet of This guy. If you check his history prior to being blocked, you will find that the user equates "being cyberbullied" with "being on the losing end of consensus" and makes several legal threats regarding being "bullied", a patently rediculous claim. --Jayron32 20:27, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Posting something to a discussion board that doesn't impugn anyones character in particular or do anything other than offer a subject up for discussion isn't really trolling. No-one is really obliged to discuss the subject. Trolling would be more like avoiding discussion of issues by putting down the poster, trying to link an anonymous discussion point to a real identity somewhere for the purpose of rubbishing the argument, generally acting in bad faith, that kind of thing. Weakopedia (talk) 21:25, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
IP addresses aren't sockpuppets. Weakopedia (talk) 21:27, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
It depends on the subject and the sincerity behind the subject. It certainly can be trolling. They are if they are being used to evade a current block. --OnoremDil 21:31, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Ok, how about this, here is my user name that I no longer use due to having been on the receiving end of extreme bullying and I am not a sockpuppet of the above named individual nor am I a meat puppet of anyone either. I am me, I dont equate bullying with being on the losing end of a discussion. I equate bullying with individuals who believe if they do something wrong all they have to do is bring up past offences by the accuser and make the thread about the accuser and not their own actions. All I would want to return to Wikipedia would be for it to be mandatory that threads in AN/I and other such places be about the matter at hand and not be turned around, if the accused has a counter accusation a NEW complaint/thread should be made instead of the accused and their "pals" ganging up and throwing every accusation (most of which are blatantly false) out there. Thank you to Weakopedia for pointing out examples of why discussion about bullying never goes anywhere. Wish more had your opinion on what trolling is.Camelbinky (talk) 14:11, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
So I looked up your last contributions and found this ANI discussion. Do you consider this to be "extreme bullying" or does that refer to some other event? If so please point me at the right discussion. Yoenit (talk) 14:30, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
(ec)It is, however, the fact that the accuser is "also in the dock" which lends some semblance of fairness to the process. You may not know this, but some litigious editors appear to make more than their fair share of complaints here. And ArbCom generally specifically looks at all parties in an action. See also WP:False consensus for an opinion about fairness in actions, and the fact that CANVASSing can make improper results likely. Collect (talk) 14:34, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
The cabals canvass out of sight out of the site. The dispute resolution system is toothless and festooned with red tape and Uncle Toms. i understand why someone might just opt out.--— Tumadoireacht Talk/Stalk 14:53, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, it's not bullying to point out that you were in the wrong, Binky. WP:BOOMERANG exists because of that. If we went your way, people could bring up false claims all the time and we couldn't call them out on their own errors. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:46, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
@Camelbinky: No, the reason YOUR discussion isn't going anywhere is that you have not provided any diffs to back up your wild claims. So far, we have no evidence this is anything more than sour grapes on your part. If you want to have a meaningful discussion on the matter, provide meaningful proof that a) events which you describe as happening really happened and b) if they did happen that your interpretation of them is correct. Unless and until you do so, we cannot have a meaningful discussion of issues. --Jayron32 16:05, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Ok, you last two, why are people making this discussion about ME? WTF, does anyone actually read the first post on a thread? This. Is. A. Discussion. On. The. Broad. Topic. Of. Bullying. In. General. And. The. Crap. That. Goes. On. Around. Here. The reason I used my IP and continue to do so is- I no longer edit Wikipedia Period. This crap of "please talk about the discussion" etc, that discussion is one I dont even remember the details of and was months ago! OMG, seriously? Instead of talking about how bullying occurs in Wikipedia and what can be done so that others dont feel bullyed you instead make this discussion about me and the last dispute I was a party too... wow, can one say you are avoiding on purpose the discussion and personally attacking me instead on purpose? Because if it wasnt on purpose then it was plain ignorance of reading the original post and instead single-minded obsession with me as an individual and in humiliating and discrediting me. Either way- You are the problem, obviously not part of the solution. Block me for calling those last two editors idiots and jerks and yes- bullies. Because that's what they are, and I dont edit Wikipedia so it's not a big loss. Thanks. (talk) 04:42, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
No, I am talking about the problem in general. You have asserted that bullying is a problem at Wikipedia. You have provided no evidence to back up that assertion. All I am asking for is for you to provide evidence of the problem so we can meaningfully discuss it and present possible solutions. It is telling that you keep personalizing this, and not me. If you want to have a meaningful discussion of bullying at Wikipedia, please provide evidence that it is going on, and then we can discuss it. So far, it looks like all you are trying to do is cast wild aspersians about the "culture" of Wikipedia without actually providing any evidence that such aspects as bullying even exist in the culture. Seriously, if you want to have a meaningful discussion, then give us something to discuss! --Jayron32 04:47, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
While I do not agree with his tone, Jayron32 has a point. We have already have a policy in place to deal with bullying (wp:Harassment), so there is no point in a general discussion. However, if you can present evidence that the current policy is inadequate, we might have a meaningful discussion on how to improve the policy. Yoenit (talk) 11:43, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Binky, there is no "problem in general." You don't like that, when bringing a complaint to ANI, the folks there also scrutinize your own edits. That's not an example of bullying, that's due diligence. Oh, and if you don't edit Wikipedia, why are you even posting from an IP at all? — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:30, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Selling Wikipedia??

Hello, I know Wales has made Wikipedia a charitable organization. Now that Wikipedia has the fifth highest hit count on the Internet it is worth potentially billions of dollars. What internal controls are in place to ensure that it is never privatized by the current management team or others in the future? Remember, money corrupts even the most virtuous!! Perhaps, somebody should create a webpage on this topic. Thank you Zabanio (talk) 15:44, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Federal regulation acts as a powerful control. :) The Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) (cf. [2]). The Foundation must file with state and federal authorities to dissolve that nonprofit status, and the distribution of any assets must be government approved. Assets may be distributed, with approval, to another non-profit organization or they may be donated to government (at federal or state level) for public purpose. See also: wmf:Wikimedia Foundation bylaws#ARTICLE VI - ASSETS; Steven D. Simpson (7 November 2008). Multistate Guide to Regulation and Taxation of Nonprofits. CCH. p. 22. ISBN 9780808092360. Retrieved 16 January 2011.  (section: "Dedication and Distribution of Assets") --Moonriddengirl (talk) 17:03, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)No matter what, the content of Wikipedia would have to remain CC-BY-SA licensed. When I make a contribution to Wikipedia, I, not the WMF, hold the copyright to that contribution, and I only agreed to license it under that particular license. No one could ever "close off" Wikipedia without permission to do so from everyone who's ever made an edit. You can already make commercial use of Wikipedia content (that's totally legal under the CC-BY-SA), and there are places that do, but you can't change the license to a closed one. So, if Wikipedia itself ever were to be dissolved from nonprofit status, anyone else in the world could start up a new version of it anywhere they like, under a new nonprofit setup. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:08, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
I think that throughout human history, whenever massive profits were to be siezed, people tend to want to sieze them. I wouldn't put it past the board to attempt to quickly "cash in" on Wikipedia's peaking popularity, all to retire early as multi, multi, multi millionaires on scattered Carribean isles, "Trading Places"-style. Of course if such plans are in the works, they would be secret. It's not like us pesky editors can be clued in on anything important -- that may distract us from all the free work we're doing in pumping up the value of their product. Pillhead Maddox (talk) 23:00, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
As has just been explained to you, there is no way for the board to do that. If Wikipedia was suddenly somehow turned into a for-profit (which can't happen for the reasons Moonriddengirl explained), one of the many people who've downloaded the software and the content database, would just open it up as a new free version of the website, and there would be absolutely nothing that the for-profit-Wikipedia could do to stop them (for the reasons Seraphimblade explained). --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:34, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
The right to fork exists. And it's happened before. Encyclopedia Libre, Citizendium and so on. If Wikimedia became for-profit, the editor pool would disappear very quickly. —Tom Morris 00:43, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I can't imagine that a for-profit 'Wikipedia' would attract the same range of editors, though knowing the bloody-mindedness of some old hands, they might be tempted to engage in a little 'creative' editing. ;-) I'd not advocate this in the circumstances, as I think it would either rapidly fade away, or change its editing parameters entirely, and be less of a Wiki than the 'free' fork that would undoubtedly follow. Wikipedia isn't a 'thing', so much as a concept, and you can't privatise an idea. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:52, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
While dumps of Wikipedia article content are regularly downloaded (albeit not generated frequently enough), I remain more concerned about media content, which there is no convenient way to download en masse, and which is so large that the bandwidth required to do so would be substantial. If WMF decided to "hide" these works and make them difficult to access, we'd have quite a problem. I've been considering setting up Torrents for "media dumps" of individual projects, containing all the media used by that project (both local uploads and Commons files). Dcoetzee 00:59, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
What advantage would WMF or (supposing it is possible) a commerical successor gain from hiding content? --FormerIP (talk) 04:27, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
There are a hundred or so things that the WMF could decide to do that are just as likely as them "hiding" media content; that doesn't mean they would, though. Why are we giving any thought to such ridiculously far-fetched what-if scenarios? Isn't there an encyclopedia to edit or something? EVula // talk // // 22:13, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a valid concern so far as other community-centered projects have "gone private" and sort of shut the door on their original contributors for a quick buck. CDDB is of particular interest in terms of how something like that happened, especially as something that was once argued to be completely free became a for-profit venture. Even more disturbing is how the Wikimedia Foundation was able to transmute the GFDL license into the CC-by-SA license, showing that a route does at least nominally exist where the contents of Wikipedia could be in theory relicensed to some other licensing terms, including completely proprietary terms in theory or charging for the content. I didn't think it was possible to relicense from the GFDL, but it proved to happen here if enough political pressure was applied in the right place. Even Richard Stallman can be pushed around, and I thought that was tough.
This said, I agree with much of what is said above here in the reply of others where there would be a huge outcry if any move of that nature were to happen, and certainly all of the content currently on Wikipedia would be available under the current licensing terms including the right to fork. If the Wikimedia Foundation was to "go rogue" and do something so raw as to sell out, the community can and would fight back.
Some of the commercial deals that the Wikimedia Foundation has had with groups such as Pedia Press are a bit more concerning, and I can name other "501 (c) 3" non-profit groups that have some very much for-profit ventures that make money from the non-profit groups in some interesting ways. One in particular I know about is how the People to People Student Ambassador Program is essentially operated as a for profit business by Ambassadors Group, Inc., which even go so far as to be a publicly traded for profit company under the NASDAQ symbol of EPAX. It is possible that while the creation of the content might be "free", some of the commercial access to Wikipedia content could be restricted significantly in the future. At best all I can say is that you must be vigilant about such matters. Hopefully the WMF won't get rid of the community-elected representatives like ICANN did to their "at-large" representatives... another community-based resource from a supposedly non-profit group that ended up being dominated by corporate interests and people trying to make a quick buck. --Robert Horning (talk) 17:33, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
As repeatedly explained, WFM cannot "go private... for a quick buck" due to US corporation laws. OrangeDog (τε) 18:45, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
As I tried to explain by using specific examples above, it can still happen in spite of U.S. corporate law and the IRS tax code. There certainly are plenty of examples including ones I cited specifically where a profit-making body is attached or licensed in some manner to a non-profit organization. It gets tricky and is especially problematic when you figure out compensation packages for officers in the "non-profit" organization. Most PBS television stations are "non-profit entities", although there certainly are for-profit enterprises that can and do make a profit related to public television. That certainly can happen with Wikimedia projects, including the licensing of the Wikimedia trademarks in various forms and establishing commercial relationships with various groups who might want to publish or re-purpose Wikimedia content in various forms. Exclusive rights to these trademarks is one area where the WMF certainly could get involved... even if up until now such "deals" have been few and far between and at the moment only represent a marginal source of income for the foundation. --Robert Horning (talk) 00:27, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
They haven't gone private; they've licensed it for administration to a private agency...which is disturbing enough in itself. :/ It would be interesting to see the licensing agreement. I took a poke about, but couldn't find any particulars. In terms of Wikimedia, its online assets are, of course, already licensed for commercial reuse, but the license is not exclusive, so the business model is a bit different. They cannot offer exclusive license to the contents and cannot legally divest the assets outside of the manner provided. Whether they could get up to shenanigans in licensing the administration of the website, I don't know. It would be interesting to see what would happen if they tried, though I hope I never have to. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 13:31, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
  • This is all a lot of "let's make up a hypothetical problem and argue about it." There is little to no chance the Foundation is planning to do anything of the sort so this is conversation is rather pointless. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:23, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

In a recent interview Sue Gardner emphasized that the Foundation would remain a non-profit: "We don't move in the world of IPOs and valuation and investment. We never talk about it, we never think about it."

And this new interview with the main proponent of the 2002 Spanish Wikipedia fork Enciclopedia Libre, where concerns about possible advertising were a main reason, is quite illuminating (look for a summary in next week's Signpost). He claims that it shaped much of the direction that Wikipedia has taken since, and recounts interesting hurdles to the right to fork - they had to copy over articles one by one because Jimmy Wales wouldn't give them access to download the full database. While I am sure that the interview shows only one side of the story, it is nevertheless a really interesting read.

Regards, HaeB (talk) 02:53, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

I really don't have a dog in this fight so to speak but thought I would throw my 2 cents in. Aside from all the legal mumbo jumbo one of the main things that makes WP work is all the free labor; you, me and the rest of the editors working for free. If WP suddenly became for profit much of that resource would likely leave (I would). Their are however more creative ways of generating revenue such as publishing books of WP's content (which has already been done by other companies). Featuring an article for a "donation". They could expand the "bounty board" in ways that would generate revenue. There are also a number of ways they could use the commons for profit, etc. Since none of these have been done I don't think we have anything to worry about. Also, WP has several benefactors and I suspect at least some would pull funding....etc. In the end though Jimbo has repeatedly stated that he feels strongly about WP being free so as long as we have him running the show we don't have anything to worry about. --Kumioko (talk) 03:11, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
According to the most recent issue of Signpost: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Archives/2011-01-17, Wikimedia Foundations's operating revenue goal for the month of October, 2010 was budgeted for $750,000 and Wikimedia actually brought in $3,200,000. Even discounting the single $2,000,000 donation they received, the still made almost double what they budgeted during that month, and the fundraiser wasn't even in full operating mode at that time. I think we're still awaiting the full details on the most recent fundraiser, but all preliminary reports have indicated that the fundraiser raised vastly more money than expected. Given these numbers, it is clear that the Foundation has absolutely no financial problems at all. People keep imagining that we are running on some kind of shoestring budget, and that we exist hand-to-mouth just to preserve some kind of ideal; and that if we'd just give in, just a tiny bit, to commercialization or advertising or something like that, we'd be safe. Given that Wikipedia (and the Foundation) seems perfectly safe, from a financial standpoint, there is absolutely no impetus to change the current business model. None. People need to stop trying to find "solutions" to this problem, since the problem they are trying to solve so much doesn't exist, it isn't even funny. --Jayron32 19:06, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
It may be true that the Wikimedia Foundation is raising a whole bunch of money from a great many sources, but their expenses are also skyrocketing at the same time. That is what is especially concerning, as was the move from Florida to San Francisco at a time when real estate was quite expensive in the Bay Area. Yes, I get the reasons for why they did that move and it may be legitimate reasons, but the WMF isn't exactly operating under the most fiscally conservative manner either.
One of the things that also suffered from commercial activity was the strong push to move potential sister projects from under the Wikimedia umbrella to becoming Wikia/Wikicities projects. That effort has been so successful that sister projects are now a dead issue and I have even gone so far as to say that it is now a hopeless cause to even try to start a sister project at this time. Then again there are elements within the Wikimedia projects that would like to even go so far as jettison the existing sister projects with perhaps the exception of the Wikimedia Commons, but that is a separate argument.
My point in raising this is that Jimmy Wales and other members/former members of the WMF board have personally benefited financially from this policy of pushing content off of the Wikimedia projects (including killing the game guides on Wikibooks) where a for-profit venture, Wikia Inc., has been able to capture a considerable portion of that effort including content that I know for a fact was originally within the scope of Wikimedia projects as well as capturing efforts that wanted to become sister projects but found a home on Wikia instead.
Really I don't know what might have been had more sister projects been encouraged or other content offloaded to other projects but I do think that the Wikimedia projects are weaker as a result as is Wikipedia too. Putting hard numbers on that isn't easy and any number you can come up with can be explained in so many ways that it is mostly open to interpretation. I am saying though that the efforts of the Wikimedia Foundation aren't nearly as pure as everybody seems to express on these forums. Actions of the WMF board can and should be questioned by the volunteers and participants on the Wikimedia projects. --Robert Horning (talk) 20:30, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh, you are right there. Scrutiny is a Good Thing. It's just that there has been a nonstop chorus of "I have a better way for Wikipedia to make more money" at this page for, like, years. It gets old. I do understand your concern over commercialization of Wikimedia assets, though I don't think it rises to the level of "grand conspiracy" insofar as the entire enterprise represents a concerted effort by Jimmy Wales to monetize Wikipedia purely for his own gain. I think that sort of implication is entirely unfounded. --Jayron32 20:37, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Spam links are becoming the standard practice

I started a discussion at WT:External links#Spam links becoming standard practice. Seems like something others may be interested in. — Timneu22 · talk 17:42, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Featured article demonstrates Wiki failure

Today's featured article demonstrates many of the practical problems with Wikipedia editing and with its administration. I invite contributions to the ongoing discussion here: [3]. The article, of course, by policy, cannot itself be modified by anon users. The given and most important reason for this is protection against vandals. However the policy also protects against criticism of the process of creating a Featured Article. And that? Is dishonest and utterly contrary to Wikipedia goals. (talk) 23:44, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

And that is bollocks. Your ability to discuss "the process of creating a Featured Article" does not depend upon your ability to edit a featured article. Having read the linked talk page, I tend to think that you're being a little over-hasty. There are both processes for nominating FAs and for de-nominating them. If you think there's an issue with a particular FA sufficient that it should be reviewed, and if you are articulate enough to make a basic case for so doing, then the process is open to you at Wikipedia:Featured article review. Absent any evidence that you've tried to use the processes in place tends to render your criticism of them, at best, speculative and more likely, uninformed. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:13, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
You can request edits to the article by following the instructions at Category:Wikipedia semi-protected edit requests. --Bsherr (talk) 00:20, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Not even slightly hasty. I have many years of editing experience here, and 10,000s of edits. Never been blocked. Never been banned. When I attempted to question the contents and process of another Featured Article, some weeks ago, I was told: You aren't in the group of people who decides these things. And ominously: Once we have made our decision to make an article "Featured", that decision cannot be questioned for three months. (talk) 04:15, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
The second part does not sound very ominous; it merely introduces latency into the process. As the article in question was promoted in January 2010, it falls without the three month period. So, again, if you want to take the matter forward, the FA Review pages await. You'd have to point us at wherever it was that you were told you were not in the group; and if your complaint there relates to a FA promoted less than three months ago, the bets you can do is to submit criticisms to the article's talk page. If they're not resolved to your satisfaction, you can later request a review. Meanwhile, although this is a cosy enough chat, I'm not sure exactly what the policy issue is, with anything like enough specificity to be able to further the conversation. The talk pae you pointed us at complains about a specific article being promoted to FA, and declares the process broken ... without any connecting logical steps. You will make no progress carrying on like this. It's up to you to articulate rational criticisms that can be discussed, not merely flinging your arms around in frustration. --Tagishsimon (talk) 04:36, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
It's hard to get terribly excited about complaints that one can't do this or that without creating an account, given that creating an account is easy, free, and does not require revealing any personal information whatsoever. The community consensus is clear to continue allowing editors to edit while not logged in, and that's fine with me; we probably get some good editors who otherwise would never have started. But don't expect to be treated as a protected class when your status is so easy to change and with so little downside. --Trovatore (talk) 04:58, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Or you could just come out of the woodwork and open a named account. Does not have to be your real name Just an idea.--— Tumadoireacht Talk/Stalk 05:02, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Photographs of places which contain a person as a prominent subject

Policy question regarding image use and content. I looked in the Manual of Style and Image Use Policy but didn't find anything directly referencing this – so I'm soliciting an opinion / starting a discussion here. While we are all encouraged to upload our own photographs of places, particularly of the articles are lacking pictures and if our work is of decent quality, what about this: a single photographer has uploaded dozens of photographs of places along the California coast, and each one contains a person. It appears to be the same person in each picture. What do you think of this? The person usually has his back to the camera, and sometimes is centered (for example here -- File:17milecypruspoint.jpg) and sometimes is off to the side (as here – File:Guadalupedunes.JPG or here File:Santabarbaraview2.jpg ). Occasionally the pictures fail to illustrate their subject – in File:Gaviotaview.JPG , the pier is within the state park, as is the road shoulder in the foreground, but the picture is really a shot of the coastline and ocean outside of the park. Many of these are lovely pictures but for the figure -- is this a new type of vanity entry? Am I being too sensitive? What does anyone else think? Antandrus (talk) 17:18, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Just an opinion - I'd say there's clearly some kind of joke or vanity project going on there. It's not coincidence, and that would be the only acceptable reason for having the same guy in all those pictures. Bretonbanquet (talk) 17:24, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
I think we should avoid using these images in the English Wikipedia, simply because landscape photographs are better when they don't have a guy carefully posed in them. Commons is unlikely to delete properly-licensed images just for that reason, though. On the other hand, because these have free licenses, many of the images could be cropped to produce a more acceptable version. Gavia immer (talk) 17:36, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually, it can be very good to have a person in these kinds of images, in order to show the scale of the features. In these cases, I don't think we should care who that person is. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 00:13, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Even when it's the same guy in two dozen photos? There are probably more pictures of this guy on Wikipedia than anyone else in the world. Maybe that was the whole idea...? Bretonbanquet (talk) 00:34, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, even if it's the same guy. In a way that's even better, as it gives a consistent reference :p. If the pictures are appropriate to the article, what exactly is the harm in allowing someone to be in them? He's not exactly got his face centre-frame. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 10:21, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, and they've used at least two IP addresses and questionable edit summaries to push the images in the article. I've been replacing these with cropped versions where it's possible to crop them and still have a useful image, and removing the others, because we don't need to be supporting this ...whatever it is. If anyone legitimately prefers the images with the one guy in them, feel free to revert me, but I don't feel a need to have this guy in every Southern California article. Gavia immer (talk) 00:43, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
I think the cropped photos look just fine. They're decent photos and the person detracts from them in most cases anyway, besides the dubious intent. Bretonbanquet (talk) 00:52, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

It isn't necessarily in bad faith; it could just be that these were snapshots that the taker later decided had some information in them, regardless of the friend. I've uploaded several to Commons that happened to have my wife in them because they were taken on vacations. Though she is rather less conspicuous in my photos than these, most of which are street scenes... Still, WP:AGF and all that. It should be purely a matter of whether the photo is informative or if the figure detracts from it, and if you can't tell from a single photo whether it's incidental or vanity, then unless you're going to put more than one in the same article it probably doesn't matter. postdlf (talk) 03:26, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Here's where it's coming from; notice the picture at the very top. I was curious about the multiple IPs posting these pictures, reverting people who tried to remove them, and the multiple geographic locations from which the IPs come. The ISP name for some of them matches the username of the uploader on Commons. Regarding the images themselves: they are often excellent, and I like the idea of using them but with the person cropped out. Antandrus (talk) 16:28, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
I've run into this before and was able to convince the uploader to rework the photos to crop out himself and also to crop out subject titles and date stamps per WP:WATERMARK: File:IceCap nuclear test.JPG. You can see the earlier version in history. Binksternet (talk) 04:47, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Thread watchers, please take note that there is now a related discussion on ANI. The thread is Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Something fishy on Pelican State beach Gavia immer (talk) 02:45, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

It's still going on, so I've started a sockpuppetry case. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 04:51, 21 January 2011 (UTC)


There is currently an RFC for WP:ACTIVIST for those who are interested. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 07:13, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Are drug syntheses medical advice?

I noticed that Methamphetamine has a detailed Synthesis section and links to a synthesis FAQ with more details in its External links. WP:NOTHOWTO aside, isn't a drug synthesis recipe a very detailed and toxicologically dangerous form of medical advice, and as such isn't it prohibited? (talk) 06:49, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Not really. Many, if not most, articles about chemicals at Wikipedia have descriptions about how they are made. I pulled up some random articles on other chemicals, such as Copper(II)_sulfate#Preparation and Butanone#Production and Ethylenediaminetetraacetic_acid#Synthesis and they ALL contain information on synthesizing the compound. I am not sure there is a compelling reason to specifically remove synthesis information from the methamphetamine article merely because some people abuse it. --Jayron32 06:52, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Addendum: Regarding medical advice, the page User:Kainaw/Kainaw's criterion has some information on what usually is, or is not, considered medical advice. Though it is hosted at a userpage, it expresses principles that are widely accepted among the community. --Jayron32 06:54, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
The synthesis section of the article is definitely not a how to guide, nor is it medical advice in any form, nor is wikipedia censored. Whether the external link to the meth synthesis page is appropriate is an entirely different discussion, which would be something for the the external links noticeboard. Yoenit (talk) 07:32, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
It's not prohibited. Our Wikipedia:Medical disclaimer specifically states that users should not to be rely upon us for medical advice. See also WP:COMPREHENSIVE; likewise, we're not gonna delete all the medical articles to prevent harm to hypocondriacs. --Cybercobra (talk) 05:01, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Concerns about WP:DUCK...kind of

I have some concerns lately about tactics I see taken on random discussion boards. Basically, it goes like this. An anon or a new editor gets involved in a content dispute or disagreement. After some discussion, the more experienced editor(s) point out that the anon/new user "sure have a lot of knowledge about WP for an inexperienced editor" (or something along those lines), basically accusing them of being a sock in a round about way. My concern is that I (and others like me) can be perceived as a new editor, but I have read and followed Wikipedia for years, and could probably cite WP policies with the best of them. In short, I really don't think this is a very good argument and assumes bad faith. I will admit that sure, sometimes a duck is a duck (maybe more often than not), but I think editors (and especially admins) should be VERY careful to label a "new" user as a sock or meat puppet...and I have really seen this happen a lot lately. Most people who "use" Wikipedia don't necesarrily "edit" it until something comes along they feel strongly about (as I did a while back). Thanks,

And I guess I should point out that I had another "life" on WP is the past, but I have less than 500 edits and was NEVER involved in a content dispute. Basically, I just changed my online identity on everything after I was married, and things...well...changed. Fresh start and all that. I'd appreciate opinions on this.  DAVIDABLE  01:07, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
WP:DUCK is a poor bit of advice. In effect it guarantees some false positives. All I can say is Wikipedia is going to suck sometimes. I don't think you should be to concerned. WP:DUCK is just an essay and not something that is acted upon often. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 01:37, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
To add, an opposing guideline to WP:DUCK is Wikipedia:Assume good faith. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 01:45, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
It's a catch-22 situation sometimes. If we assume good faith we can think to ourselves that here is a user who actually bothered to become familiar with how things work before becoming an active participant, or in the case of ip users they could simply have a rotating ip that changes a lot through no fault of their own. It is also possible they could be someone who is looking for a clean start under a new identity, which is fine as long as they don't dive right back in to bickering in whatever area made them want to do that in the first place. On the other hand, there is an undeniable problem with persistent sockpupeteers coming back again and again for whatever reason, and we have to be vigilant in trying to ferret them out. On balance though I agree with the original poster, I have seen a lot of baseless accusations of this sort recently. The standard rule is file an WP:SPI or shut the hell up. If you don't have enough evidence to make an spi case then such accusations are unhelpful and needlessly inflammatory. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:46, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Here here. I agree WP:DUCK only works when, concurrently, we see currency at mouth-level. (Essays are only essays, and that's why most essays have an essay in opposite, or in this case a guideline in opposite.) Where essays and guidelines conflict, guidelines should be followed. So, WP:DUCK only applies when the assumption of good faith is contraindicated. --Bsherr (talk) 04:04, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd go that far—or perhaps you assess the assumption at a different level of granularity.
For example: During the last three years, all new or IP users who changed Special education#Methods of provision, with one exception, have proven to be the same community-banned user (a young woman with special needs). So no matter how innocent actually you are, if you change something in that section, I'm already going to be thinking about SPI, even while I'm waiting for the diffs to load.
I'm not sure that most people would consider good faith contraindicated for the first-ever edit (other than obvious vandalism) by any new user, but in this case, I've found it to be a highly effective approach. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:20, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
I hear that, but I hope, and I assume, you don't instantly revert anyone who ever tries to edit that section, right? --Bsherr (talk) 23:42, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Instantly? No, sometimes I get in touch with a checkuser before undoing the changes.  ;-)
In practice, it would depend on the nature of the edits. I (and several other editors) typically remove her characteristic, POV-pushing edits as soon as convenient, well before we have a response from SPI. The fact that, in this very big world, it is possible for two different humans to independently make the same mistakes doesn't change the fact that unverifiable POV pushing doesn't belong in Wikipedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:14, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
The problem with "new" users citing policy is that, far too often, they misunderstand policy as being a legalistic prescription of how things are done, instead of being a description (in some cases, an out-of-date one) of how things should be done. (That's one of the implications of WP:Ignore all rules.) Those who try to argue the rules so they can do X, far too often do so because the facts won't let them otherwise. (For example, whenever someone defends her/his action by stating "assume good faith" page, I immediately become suspicious.) The moment your action depends on the specific wording of a policy ought to warn you that you might not be doing the right thing for the right reason. IMHO, the solution is simple: simply explain your reasons without reference to Wikipedia policy, as if you were attempting to persuade another person; if you must cite Wikipedia policy, explain it in your own words. Doing so may, strange to say, result in a more accurate expression of policy than what the page says at that given moment. -- llywrch (talk) 18:20, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

RfC concerning non-free media in articles on genres and other broad topics

In Wikipedia talk:Non-free content, there is currently an RfC asking, How should the potential replaceability of non-free by free material be assessed when media of both types is available for an article? The issue affects many articles covering artistic genres as well as those covering other broad topics where much of the applicable media content with significant encyclopedic value is under copyright.—DCGeist (talk) 12:19, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Autopatrolled - reduce number of qualifying articles

I'm posting this over here from Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion discussion here. A discussion about how to encourage more New page patrollers turned to considering why we have so many articles going through NPP that are not by newbies. Currently, to receive Autopatrolled status a user has to either

  • have created over 75 articles and make a special request; or
  • be an administrator

75 seems a huge number, and the fact that editors have to make a specific request for autopatrolled status means that many probably won't even know there is such a thing. Given that reviewer rights were handed out to every editor in good standing, the query has arisen as to why autopatrolled is so difficult to obtain. Has this been discussed before - no-one in the original discussion was sure why it was set so high. What would the objections be to say giving it automatically to editors with 5 articles or 1000 edits (or some similar arbitrary figure), with the proviso that it will be removed if the editor creates problematic articles? --Elen of the Roads (talk) 17:14, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

It would seem reasonable to lower the number it would be fairly clear after only a few created articles that the editor contributions would not need to be looked at by New Page Patrollers. In the end it would still be the judgement of the admin giving the right to review. MilborneOne (talk) 17:21, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree that 75 is rather huge, but I think 5 may be too low. Looking in the history of the page, 75 seems to have just been made up, with no real justification for it. Note that 75 is not a hard requirement, but I would support lowering it down to something like 10 or 20. Obviously it should be removed if they create problematic articles, but having the right means that their articles aren't reviewed, so spotting abuse is difficult. It shouldn't be based on editcount, as its entirely possible for highly experienced users to make a crappy article if they've never done it before. Mr.Z-man 18:37, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I think that 20-25 would be reasonable. One of the points is to not spend time assigning the userright to people who very rarely create articles. Spending 10 minutes now (my guess at the non-automatic review time needed) to save 2 minutes if the person ever creates an article isn't really helpful. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:56, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
If you've created 20 articles without any issues cropping up, we can a) probably trust the user not to really screw up 2) expect that user to create more articles. If this drop in numbers is agreed, can we create a list of users who have created 20+ (non-deleted) articles, and have a bot leave a note on their talk page inviting them to apply for autopatrolled status? Fences&Windows 20:30, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
10 should be plenty. Stuff like is happening on Wikipedia:Requests for permissions/Autopatrolled now is ridiculous. Yoenit (talk) 22:12, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Shall we start an RfC on this? I agree that a drop to 10 or 20 articles as the minimum (with the granting still being at an admin's discretion) is a good move, but we need wider input. This should lighten the load on NPP. At an RfC we can also gain input about the possibility of a bot message inviting applications. Fences&Windows 18:02, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
An RfC would be a good idea I think, to thrash out an actual number of article creations, and add a statement that it can be taken away if an editor starts to create disruptive articles (not just being a bit overenthusiastic with the odd article that the community eventually decides is not notable). If it gets accepted, a bot to drop a note for editors to apply for the right is an excellent idea Elen of the Roads (talk) 01:14, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Autopatrolled status should be determined by number of articles created along with a time frame, such as one year since the first article created, to avoid awarding autopatrolled status to new users who might be creating masses of cookie-cutter articles. I'm thinking of cases (DRV here) such as the one where the user who created 100s of articles on Chinese train stations in a very short time. Most people with agendas other than building an encyclopedia reveal those agendas within one year. Abductive (reasoning) 06:25, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
One year seems rather excessive; people can get adminship in less time than that. In the case you referred to, the user started mass-creating articles just a few hours after creating an account. There will still be an admin reviewing the articles before granting the right. Mr.Z-man 06:53, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that one year is excessive for a starting point. In particular, I'm concerned that if we spam every (currently active?) user who has ever created 20 pages, then the request board may be swamped. If we started the bot with the most restrictive case (one year+20 articles)—and perhaps a note clearly explaining that the bit is absolutely useless unless you're planning to create new articles—then we might be able to manage the resulting load. We could always liberalize it later (perhaps in stages: six months and ten articles, then three months and ten articles).
In fact, the place to start might be with identifying people who are already likely to qualify at the current 75-article level (or perhaps 50). WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:26, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
The solution to that problem is to not immediately spam every user who has created 20 pages, not to replace one ridiculous limit with another. It does not take a year to learn how to create a passable article and the suggestion that users' motives should be under suspicion for a whole year is completely contrary to AGF. Whether the user gets the right should be based entirely on whether or not his articles need to be reviewed. Obviously, if they only create a couple articles, there's not much point in giving it to them, but if they're frequently writing high-quality articles, how is it helping anything to turn them down for some bureaucratic reason? Looking at the current requests for permissions, the system has become perverted from its original goal. I see several comments that suggest people working there have no clue what this is actually for. There's comments about whether people "want" the "tool," despite the fact that its not a tool like rollback that the user actively uses. A user who had created 30 high quality articles like this, who had not had a single article deleted (other than on his own request), was turned down for not having 50-75. The last thing we need are more rules put in place for reasons that have little to do with the purpose of the process for people to enforce with no thought given as to why they exist. Mr.Z-man 17:32, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't mind changing the rule to the least restrictive case immediately; my point is that if we're going to have a bot issue invitations, then we might do well to prioritize the most prolific creators first for those invitations (like User:Unoquha), rather than issuing invitations alphabetically or randomly. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:24, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

(undent) Here's a concrete proposal:

  1. We change the minimum standard to 20 pages created (plus admin judgment).
  2. We issue invitations to the subset of qualifying accounts that meet these standards:
    1. have created 20 non-deleted pages,
    2. are older than six months (Abductive's concern),
    3. don't already have autopatroller/admin/etc status, and
    4. have edited (something, anything) in the last 30 days (not much point in inviting currently inactive users).
  3. We sort this list according to who's created the most pages (so that the highest-priority people get the invitations first), and find a bot to spam a set (any suggestions?) number of invitations per day from this list until it reaches the end of the list.

BTW, some of this work has already been done. See this database query, which produced this list (last spring?). WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:03, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

75 was picked as the arbitrary starting point with my initial proposal because that is what it had been with the previous system (bot patrols anyone on a whitelist). 20 articles would probably be fine, but administrators should still ensure that past history with BLPs has been OK. NW (Talk) 19:11, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Hence not giving it automatically, but asking the user if they would like to apply. Its either that or have admins eyeball the list and give approval, then have the bot notify the editor that they now have autopatrolled status, but it needs to be eyeballed somewhere.Elen of the Roads (talk) 00:05, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I've tried a couple of times to get a bot that will produce a list of currently active article creators who are not admins or autopatrollers and who have created more than 75 articles. If we can get such a report I would happily spend some time going through it and where I think it appropriate making them autopatrollers - I did about a hundred roughly a year ago, but without a bot to create a prospect list it is terribly time consuming. Once we've got such a bot, and we've cleared the backlog of people who already qualify, I would support progressively lowering the threshold as we work through the list. In my view there will be a point where the proportion of people who consistently produce articles on notable subjects, and whose articles don't otherwise need the attention of the taggers at NPP drops below the level where we can get admins to trawl through the list. But we are a long way from knowing whether that will be 22 or 66. What I don't like is the idea of bot messaging thousands of editors suggesting they apply for the Autopatroller flag; Aside from the fact that that would probably include four editors who I've recently removed the autopatroller flag from for creating unreferenced BLPs, I think it is a much more congenial process to assess people and tell the ones who qualify that they are now autopatrollers than to encourage people to apply for something that they may well not qualify for. Of course that raises the possibility that we could at some point start communicating with the ones who don't quite qualify and give them guidance - but that's part of a whole different topic. ϢereSpielChequers 08:49, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Per the policy (which isn't labeled as policy), 75 articles is just a "suggestion". It is really up to Administrator discretion and given to "trusted" users that follow WP:BLP, WP:N and WP:V. For many months, administrators have been using 50 articles instead of 75. Does somebody want to start an RfC? -      Hydroxonium (talk) 17:53, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
An RfC is overkill. We've been talking about it here for over a week, on one of the most heavily watched pages (more than 2,000 watchers!) without producing a hint of opposition, much less an objection. I'll go boldly change the "suggestion" at Wikipedia:Autopatrolled to 50 pages, and emphasize the wide latitude given to admins. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:12, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done See the changes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:16, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Thank you -      Hydroxonium (talk) 14:38, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
That's really good. Also, if we're going to start inviting people I would agree with WhatamIdoing - it's best to prioritise the people who are already adding most to the NPP queue. bobrayner (talk) 13:03, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Status of invitations?

Have we made any progress on inviting people to apply? Has anyone figured out how to get a useful list out of the toolserver links above? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:22, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

I manually went through the old list above and looked at users with over 100 articles. Of that subset, about 10% already have the Autopatrol bit set. That old list has a lot of inactive users and bots on it, so I requested an updated list at WP:DBR a few days ago. When the new list is completed, I will format the users with the {{RfP}} template and place it somewhere for the reviewing admins. Maybe on a sub-page of Wikipedia talk:Requests for permissions so that reviewing Admins can go through it as they have time. -      Hydroxonium (talk) 13:04, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I just went through the old list again and checked users that had 200 or more articles which was 79 users. I removed the following.
  • Users that already had Autopatrol
  • Users that were bots
  • Users that had not edited in 30 days
  • Users that were currently blocked
That left 22 users or about 28% of the list, so that old list needs updating. The 22 possible autopatrol candidates are listed here, if an Admin would like to review them. The list is already formated with the {{RfP}} template. -      Hydroxonium (talk) 15:45, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I have started a related discussion of where to store the list of candidates at Wikipedia talk:Requests for permissions/Archive 3#List of Autopatrol candidates. -      Hydroxonium (talk) 17:36, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

I went ahead and boldly created a new page at Wikipedia:Requests for permissions/Autopatrolled candidates 1 and added users ready to be reviewed for Autopatrol status. It's ready to go if anybody wants to start reviewing. -      Hydroxonium (talk) 03:32, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Update - In the last couple days, over 400 users have been reviewed and granted Autopatrol rights thanks to two awesome Admins, HJ Mitchell and Acalamari (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). They should be thanked for undertaking such a monumental effort. Thanks guys. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 18:46, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

This is excellent news! Thank you all for the significant amount of work you did.
Do we want to notify the users who have recently received the userright? Some have already noticed, but I suspect that most are unaware.
Also, for those people on the list (probably without their knowledge) and who were denied, should we consider removing their entries or at least noindexing the pages by way of WP:DBE? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:55, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
I can go through the list and check which users haven't been notified and let them know. I don't have an issue with removing denied users from the list. But I don't have any experience with assigning permissions and so don't know if there are any other issues involved. Maybe others can chime in on this. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 23:11, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Looks like that's been taken care of already; thanks. Comments suggest that editors see this as a validation and recognition of their previous good work, so I'm glad that we (meaning you all ;-) took the time to do that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:27, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Update - We are working our way through about 3,000 users total from the old list and new list. Several hundred new users have been added, so hopefully the users at WP:NPP have been seeing the work go down a little. This has been a very laborious task, so I am going to look in to automating as much as possible for the future. I'll start a thread about that somewhere. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 05:06, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Why all the killing on January 26, 2011?

It's just depressing that today's main page is just soaked with blood. Nearly every item, including the featured article, In the news, and On this day has the word killing, death or war in it. Hurricane Kyle... one indirect death. In the news, bomb attacks... kill... 35 killed... bombing... killing eight Somali pirates... 140 people killed. Then, in On this day, we have armed takeover... Puget Sound War... all day battle... Finnish Civil War... warlord... rebel group. I realize that all these things are topical and relevant, but didn't anything HAPPY ever happen on January 26? I propose that editors choosing these stories include at least one piece of "good news" about science or a discovery or medical breakthrough or something cool about our magically incredible universe. Thank you. Wikipedia rules. --Torchpratt (talk) 02:22, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

You might be better off posting this on Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Humanities--Aspro (talk) 09:58, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
The most depressing day of the year was just last week, and I suppose we are still recovering.  ;). Just wait though. We usually make up for it on April Fools Day. Resolute 21:25, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Please don't repeat that drivel about 'Blue Monday'. Fences&Windows 21:03, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I am sorry to report that as far as I can see nothing "Happy" and notable appears to haev happened today. They once had a whale explode...which I file under the magically incredible universe category...but nothing happy...Better luck tomorrow. --Kumioko (talk) 21:30, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Citing on-air television

What is the current community position on citation of the form "XYZ Broadcast News. 16:42 UTC, January 29, 2011."? While I would consider the news to be a reliable source in general, it certainly doesn't make verification very easy in most cases. Personally, they seem better than having no citation, but not great. In particular, what do you do if the television citation seems to be the only source available (e.g. "breaking news") for a surprising or potentially controversial fact? Dragons flight (talk) 05:01, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

PLUG: WP:VIDEOLINK (essay and not policy).You might be able to {{Cite episode}} the original source without a link. There is no distinction between offline and online sources but you should be nice and add as much info in the citation as possible to make it easier to verify. This of course assumes that "XYZ Broadcast News" is a reliable source. Cptnono (talk) 06:19, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Note that {{Cite episode}} is not style compliant with {{cite book}}, {{cite web}} and the like, therefor they should not be mixed. See User:Gadget850/Citation templates. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 06:39, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Style as in how it is laid out? If so, an easy fix would be to do the citation manually instead of using a template. Would you mind elaborating on my talk page or the essays page for the that (so that I can update it) or even better make a mention at the template page to see if it can be updated? In regards to any given reliable broadcast news (I assume most are considered RS), the standards on Wikipedia do allow for their use.Cptnono (talk) 06:43, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
{{Cite video}} does use CS2. Added an example at User:Gadget850/Citation template comparisons. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 07:34, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
  • CS1/2: author. (date) title.
  • {{Cite episode}}: title. author. date.
Whoa, When did this happen? Thanks for the info! Is it worth while updating the template so that it is compliant?Cptnono (talk) 07:38, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
This discussion seems to be getting sidetracked with technical issues of how to cite, rather than the policy issue of whether such a source should be cited at all. The relevant policy would appear to be WP:V#Access to sources, which says "anyone should be able to check that material in a Wikipedia article has already been published by a reliable source". This means that a broadcast can only be used if there is an archive copy or transcript available to the public, either online or by other means such as public archives or the availability of copies or transcripts for purchase. An ephemeral braodcast in itself is not verifiable. Phil Bridger (talk) 13:12, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
And many stations have media available for purchase or it is available on their site. So if there is a copy available by contacting the station, no cost or amount of effort needed to obtain it is a roadblock to its use.Cptnono (talk) 06:19, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

WP:NOSHARE and User:Tcshasaposse

I have no idea where to post this, so I'll try it here. I noticed that User:Tcshasaposse was blocked due to conflict with the WP:NOSHARE policy. On the other hand, these user(s)' additions were quite helpful in the coverage of complexity-theoretic topics, so I wonder whether this issue could be solved in the positive. It would have been a serious loss in qualified input if we'd just told them to go away. Unfortunately, the block entry points to the user talk page, which has been deleted. Comments? Nageh (talk) 12:49, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Resolved! Well, I should have asked the admin who has blocked the user and deleted its user page in the first place. Nageh (talk) 23:09, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
  • We would still invite constructive contributions from the members of that committee, but they'll just need to create their own accounts that are used by only one person. –xenotalk 23:11, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Request for comments on the Audit Subcommittee

The Arbitration Committee has conducted an internal review of the Audit Subcommittee and is now seeking comment from the community, in particular about the subcommittee's effectiveness to date and ongoing representation from community delegates ("at-large members").

As the October 2009 election yielded few candidates relative to the number of seats available, it has been suggested that filling the non-arbitrator positions by appointment after community consultation (similar to the previous round of CU/OS appointments) would attract a greater number of suitably qualified candidates.

It has also been suggested that greater numbers of community delegates be appointed to ensure adequate ongoing community representation. Should a sufficient number of suitable candidates apply, the committee will appoint three "primary members" along with a number of "standby members" (who will also receive the CheckUser and Oversight privileges) and would stand in should a primary member become inactive or be unable to hear a particular case.

Comments are invited about the above, as well as any other general comments about the Audit Subcommittee. The Arbitration Committee would like to thank outgoing community members Dominic, Jredmond, and MBisanz for their patience and continued participation on the subcommittee while this review process is ongoing.

The next call for applications is provisionally scheduled for 20 February 2011.

For the Arbitration Committee, –xenotalk 18:00, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Discuss this

"Flattr" button on Wikipedia: a link to a for profit site?

When I clicked on the "page view statistics" from an article's edit history, I was shown a button for "Flattr," which is a payment system. See [4]. How is this consistent with Wikipedia policies against advertising? Edison (talk) 17:17, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Since that is on Henrik's site, he can ask for donations to maintain his server. Not sure why a button on his site would be against our advertisement policies. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 17:20, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
It is not clear that one is "leaving Wikipedia" when clicking on "page view statistics" from the "article edit history" How does one get approval to add such an "External tool" to Wikipedia pages like the Edit history so he can festoon the "External site" with ads and donation requests, since you imply there are no limitations once the viewer is taken to someones site? Edison (talk) 17:26, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
He did it so he could festoon it with ads? Funny, I thought he did it to provide a service. --Golbez (talk) 17:52, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Basically an admin just adds the link to the relevant MediaWiki interface page. Quite, Golbez: and he does not impersonate Wikipedia, his URL does not impersonate Wikipedia, can't see why he can't ask for donations if he wants to. - Jarry1250 [Who? Discuss.] 17:54, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
"External tools:" preceding the link, as well as the diagonal arrow decoration, is meant to make it clear that the link is external to Wikipedia. –xenotalk 18:06, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

The premise of this post is incorrect, anyway - we just came off several weeks of Wikipedia hounding us with large banner ads to give money. A tiny Flattr button is comparatively benign. --Golbez (talk) 20:28, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

If a "GIMME MONEY!!!" button is "benign," why is advertising so anathema on Wikipedia? Why are "External links" from articles to commerecial sites frowned upon? Edison (talk) 05:56, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
If a "GIMME MONEY!!!" button isn't benign, then how do you justify the latest Wikimedia fundraiser? And there are thousands of links on articles to sites like New York Times, CNN, etc. which have ads, so I don't think they actually are frowned upon. Another flawed premise? --Golbez (talk) 13:39, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
External links to irrelevent sites are frowned upon. External links to reliable sources that happen to also have ads, like newspaper websites, is pretty much a given. --Jayron32 07:27, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I thought the Flattr button gave money to the site owner, not to Wikipedia. Thus the Jimmy Wales fund raiser popup on Wikipedia is not relevant. Edison (talk) 18:55, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
You said: "How is this consistent with Wikipedia policies against advertising?" Who is being advertised here? Flattr? All I see is a link to collect money, exactly how Wikimedia did it several weeks ago. --Golbez (talk) 19:41, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
So what are you proposing? That we remove the links to the traffic statistics alltogether? Or are you offering to create and host your own website to offer page view statistics without a donate button? Yoenit (talk) 19:08, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Seriously? The tiny little Flattr link (which I hadn't even noticed until now) is the only "ad" on the site. If Henrik really wanted to make money, he could easily put some Google ads on there. Given the amount of resources required to run a site like that, I doubt its really self-sufficient by donations alone. Unless someone else is donating the hardware/hosting to him, he's almost certainly operating it at a loss. Mr.Z-man 21:56, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Huh. Makes me want to go donate to him.(but I'm too frugal)AerobicFox (talk) 06:55, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Disambig page order

What is the policy for the order of links on a disambiguation page? Should they be sorted alphabetically, or semi-alphabetically based on page views. I'm asking as I'd like to know how to order the links on Bing.Smallman12q (talk) 14:13, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(disambiguation_pages)#Organization should contain the answer to your question. If it doesn't, just do what you think best. Yoenit (talk) 14:24, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Dispute resolution/Draft has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Dispute resolution/Draft (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

This is, unsurprisingly, a working draft, so I have changed it to use {{draft policy}} instead of the policy tag. Gavia immer (talk) 02:34, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

RfC: What is the status of WP:COPYVIO?

Should we think of WP:COPYVIO as:-

  1. A core content policy
  2. A core policy, but not a content policy
  3. A content policy, but not a core policy
  4. A policy, but neither a content policy nor a core policy
  5. Not a Wikipedia policy at all, but a requirement imposed by various governments.

S Marshall T/C 00:11, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Refuse to discuss because the RfC has been placed on the wrong page. Jc3s5h (talk) 00:22, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Wrong place, agree: I've taken the liberty of TLXing the request. this belongs on the COPYVIO page or on Pump (policy). --Ludwigs2 00:35, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Please feel free to move it wherever you think would be most suitable. I put it here because this is where the context is, but I have no problem at all with a different venue.—S Marshall T/C 00:37, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
*Note: I've now moved this discussion from Wikipedia talk:Verifiability.—S Marshall T/C 00:46, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Um, anyone want to share the context? Why exactly does it matter if this is a core-but-not-content policy, or whatever the other options are? WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:04, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't really know what the point of this question is, but I think the way WP:COPYVIO is labelled at the moment ("a Wikipedia policy with legal considerations") hits the nail pretty much on the head.--Kotniski (talk) 08:34, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not clear on the need for discussion about such minutiae, but I agree with Kotniski that we are currently getting it right. We don't have a policy category specifically for "It's like gravity, you can't ignore it" matters, but that is what it is, and none of the proposals look better than the status quo. Gavia immer (talk) 09:06, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The context is exhaustively described on WT:V, where I originally started this RfC, but in a nutshell, it's this: The lead of WP:V says:

    Verifiability is one of Wikipedia's core content policies, along with No original research and Neutral point of view. These policies jointly determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in articles. They should not be interpreted in isolation from one another, and editors should familiarize themselves with all three.

    I think that it should say:

    Verifiability is one of Wikipedia's core content policies, along with No original research, Neutral point of view, and Do not violate copyright. These policies jointly determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in articles. They should not be interpreted in isolation from one another, and editors should familiarize themselves with all of them.

    This has met with opposition on the grounds that WP:COPYVIO is not a core content policy. I think it is a core content policy, in that it's a core policy which is about content.—S Marshall T/C 12:03, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I suppose you're right. But in this case "these policies should not be interpreted in isolation from each other" is wikispeak for "these policies are essentially forks which overlap with, duplicate and contradict each other in fairly random fashion", which is true about V, OR and NPOV, but probably not about COPYVIO as well. So it seems reasonable to use some term (and "core content policy" is sufficiently vague in meaning to do the job) that includes just those three particular policy pages.--Kotniski (talk) 12:51, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
My concern is that the current phrasing is misleading, in that when it says that editors should familiarise themselves with just those three particular policy pages, editors are reading this to mean that those policy pages are the only important ones. I presume you'll be aware of the circumstances in which User:Rlevse became a redlink?—S Marshall T/C 16:56, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm under the impression that the perception of V, NOR, and NPOV as being a kind of "big three" is something that sort of evolved over time from the "five pillars". They describe, collectively, a sort of value system that underlies how Wikipedia approaches content creation. In contrast, COPYVIO is a part of "this is very important, because if you don't do it correctly, serious harm can result". I think WP:BLP would be in the same category, as probably would be several other policies. Don't get me wrong, I'm very sympathetic to the argument that it's a problem when users fail to grasp the importance of legal rights and the intellectual vacuity of plagiarism. Maybe there are places where we could make COPYVIO more conspicuous. But I don't really see any evidence that V is the most logical or effective place to do that. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:05, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
    • Other way around, actually. Five pillars is just an essay/information page written up as a summary of major policies for newbies by User:Neutrality about four years after NPOV was created. 5P was a direct expansion of WP:TRIFECTA. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:04, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
      • Thanks for correcting that. I guess I'm still a newbie! Anyway, the point about COPYVIO remains the same. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:39, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
        • I think you lost any credible claim to newbie status about ten or twelve thousand edits ago.  ;-) WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:09, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
          • At least I don't get carded anymore. :-) --Tryptofish (talk) 22:13, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I think that S Marshall has identified a problem, but I don't think that the proposed solution is appropriate. Kotniski's translation of the line is IMO accurate. It would be unreasonable to interpret the sentence as meaning that if you learn about these three policies, which collectively represent only six percent of our policy pages, then that's good enough, and the other 94% are unimportant. It might be possible to clarify the statement, but I'm not sure how, and I'm not sure that it's truly necessary.
    If we were going to add something about this, I might try to address it in the NOR fork, perhaps saying that while the text must be clearly and directly supported by the source you cite, it must not plagiarize or violate copyrights. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:09, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • How about; "Verifiability is one of Wikipedia's core content policies, as is No original research and Neutral point of view. These policies jointly determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in articles. They should not be interpreted in isolation from one another, and editors basing an argument in one of them is expected to be familiar with the other two as well." Taemyr (talk) 10:39, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't think we need to make a significant distinction between policies in terms of importance. That just makes things unnecessarily confusing and would be counterproductive. All of the policies are important. If they weren't, then they wouldn't be policies. The question here seems to be entirely academic. Just because something might not be a "core" policy (whatever that even means) or a "content" policy doesn't mean it can just be ignored when it's convenient. Mr.Z-man 01:59, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Note: the question of how to phrase this "one of three" sentence is also being discussed at WT:NPOV#Harmony, as indeed is (or might be, if anyone joins in) the question of whether the division of this material into three pages (and the way it's currently done) is the best arrangement anyway. (And I like Taemyr's suggestion.)--Kotniski (talk) 07:15, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I think Wikipedia:Copyright is more appropriate than WP:COPYVIO. In a section called "Copyright in the lead" on Wikipedia talk:Verifiability where there has been a discussion about this issue I made the suggestion that we take a lead from WP:AT and formulate something for the lead of WP:V along the lines of:

These [content] policies, in conjunction with the copyright policy, jointly determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in articles.

This does away with the need in the body of the content policies to mention copyright, and the inclusion in the lead makes copyright policy a semi-detached member of the three content policies (much as the content policies are for WP:AT). This will hide the complications of copyright (such as copyleft, how much is fair usage, what is plagiarism etc) in the copyright policy, and stop copyright issues from endlessly complicating the three content policies (just as leaving the definition of what is a reliable source in WP:V stops duplication and complication of that term in WP:AT) . -- PBS (talk) 09:29, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

  • That's an excellent wording that appears to solve all the issues.—S Marshall T/C 21:01, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's ideal. Btw, did you know that Wikipedia:Core content policies exists? Fences&Windows 03:50, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I disagree. As best I can see, the rubric 'core content policy' refers to policy that stems directly from the Five pillars and the fundamental motivating ideals of he project. Without discounting the importance of COPYVIO, it is clearly not one of our motivating ideals.
Speaking analytically for the moment, there are only two ways to conceive policy
  • as a hierarchical structure starting from our core ideals and gradually fleshing out how they are applied in necessary detail
  • as a collection of more-or-less independent pages written as needed to deal with specific issues
The latter is how policy has always been approached on Wikipedia, and that's led to the relatively horrid mess of conflicting, confusing, wikilawered bureaucratic spread that we have today. The former is the sensible and useful approach. I propose that we sit down and write out a 'policy tree' - basically an annotated outline of how various policies and guideline ought to interrelate - so that we can start going through policy, eliminating contradictions and duplications, and basically taming that unruly mess into something concise, clear, and cohesive. shall I make a draft and open it in a new thread? --Ludwigs2 14:55, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Except, of course, that nothing stems from WP:5P, which was created long after the content policies. It's just a popular summary (an expansion of WP:TRIFECTA, actually), not some sort of founding document. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:39, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Information integration from all different languages in wikipedia to form worldwide database

I would like to request that you please look into combining all the various languages in to make a worldwide database of knowledge. Currently there is no such function available in and since the people can not learn every language covered by this would be a valuable resource. While conducting research, information from the European sites have different information that was graciously translated by people for English-speakers. My resources are limited with information that is not widely dispersed in foreign countries and the inability to translate that information into my own language. Thank you for reviewing my suggestions to further wikipedia and worldwide information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:28, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

It sounds like what you're asking is every article be translated into every language. We agree. It will take volunteers many years to accomplish this. I don't see why this needs any specific proposal, unless I'm misunderstanding what you want. --Golbez (talk) 21:29, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
It would be nice if there was something like Google Translate available to translate arbitrary documents from one language to another. While machine translation certainly has its faults and problems, I would think that the corpus of content available on Wikimedia projects is sufficient to build a fairly substantial database to build some really good tools. It would take a dedicated group to put something like that together, on the other hand.
Another aspect that is legitimate here is the whole notion of separate projects in different languages. When Wikipedia was first starting out, it made some sense to break out separate languages into different servers, and as a result you also have separate communities maintaining those projects in different languages. Still, there are problems with smaller language projects where sometimes a single individual can become a bit of a tyrant after a fashion over new participants coming into that project. In theory, such separate projects really aren't needed any more even if I do find it unlikely that all of the various languages of Wikipedia would ever be genuinely merged into a unified mega-project with a single editorial/administration policy structure. It might be interesting to at least speculate about what such a mega-project might be like, however. --Robert Horning (talk) 01:13, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
What about more basic metadata, like coordinates, area, population, country, subdivisions, etc. for places, and birth place, birth date, height, etc. for people. Plastikspork ―Œ(talk) 01:31, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
...And maybe we should include DNA, sexual orientation and shoe size? Wikipedia isn't supposed to be a database at all. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:34, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Didn't we just have this discussion on the Village pump idea lab? First, Google translate is somewhere between bad and abysmal. It's usually sufficient only to get the broad outline of what something means. Some commercial software is better, but none of it is very good. Real, functional machine translation is quite a way away. As Golbez says, though, the project of humans translating from one wiki to another is great, ongoing, and unlikely to ever finish (given the sheer number of articles along with the continual creation of more). It would be great if we could somehow get people who aren't really interested in "editing", per se, but are willing to translate, more involved in the project. Qwyrxian (talk) 02:44, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
A similar proposal ("Wikidata") is already in the works. See 3rd point under Briefly in Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2010-11-29/News_and_notes. --Cybercobra (talk) 07:28, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
"In the works" hardly does the idea justice, or even trying to decide what "Wikidata" even means or represents as it is so many things to so many different people. Yes, there is a multi-lingual effort to unify the various Wikitionaries together into a common database and some similar proposals to work with some common templates across multiple projects, but those are still "under development". Wikidata has been worked on for years, and some interesting progress in terms of experimental ideas have been developed but not much has been rolled back into Wikimedia projects from the effort. --Robert Horning (talk) 01:38, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Maybe a solution would be to start out with popular pages from all sites such as major or significant events worldwide. That way every viewpoint on the subject could be read to gain a fuller understanding of the topic. Events such as the Icelandic volcanic eruption or World Wars. It would provide sufficient interest from both the reader and perhaps also the translator. It could also act as a gauge to see how easily the process could be integrated and the logistics of the project itself. Looking at it from this standpoint the obvious problem would be integration. Would the integration be best served with links to the same article, translated for the reader, from another country or would the integration work best with the information combined with the original document (with the notation of which language wiki the information came from)? The main purpose for my initial suggestion was that my specific region was unaffected by the Icelandic volcanic eruption, and other regions such as Europe would have a better understanding of a very specific event that could give better first hand accounts and information without the need to load video from a specific news station or source. It could prove valuable to update notions/opinions/or additional information (possibly unavailable on other language wikis) on other various topics with all of the input able to be read by more people. Although the task remains daunting the potential rewards necessitate the need to examine the feasibility of the topic at minimum. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:08, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Merging and splitting articles: criteria?

Contested mergers are often not argued through clearly. That's probably generally agreed (for example see this previous VP discussion). I've been looking for guidance and found this:

Reasons to merge a page include the following: unnecessary duplication of content, significant overlap with the topic of another page, and minimal content that could be covered in or requires the context of a page on a broader topic.

There's a 'rationale' on the same page, but it doesn't go much further. I wonder if there is an essay or something somewhere else which develops this into some kind of guide? Or perhaps experienced editors here can offer advice?

What prompted this enquiry: an editor recently proposed and merged Burlesque (genre) to Burlesque, then another editor recreated Burlesque (genre). There is a duplication issue because the Burlesque (genre) material is currently in both articles. (There is also a closely-related article on Burlesque (literature)). The discussions are here: Talk:Burlesque.

Thank you. --Kleinzach 04:08, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately, WP:Merging is the best page and was rewritten and improved recently. I might be able to point you at relevant pages if you pick more specific questions. A general comment: discuss what to do before making any drastic edits (wikt:measure twice and cut once). Flatscan (talk) 05:35, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
There this essays Wikipedia:AfD and mergers - Wikipedia:Attribution/against the merge not sure if they help as i have no clue the arguments in this case - i just happen to read over this 2 essays the other day.Moxy (talk) 06:00, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Also see WP:SS, which is always helpful. Expansion of WP is a process of ramification (ideally) and splits should allow and encourage that, as articles lengthen. This is like branches of a single tree of knowledge. Of course that presumes everything goes into a sort of Dewey decimal type system so there really is only ONE place for every bit of information, allowing for the duplication that happens with every summary of content at a higher level. Mergers should happen not to "get short articles together into longer ones, just to collect it together"-- especially when they will want to split again, in the future, as they grow in length/size/complexity. Rather, splitting should be seen as a normal growth process, but merging should be seen as done only to fix clear pathology, as a sort of healing when two of the "same thing" start growing in two different places (often with neither set of parties aware of the other article). In your case, burlesque may need to be a summary article or a dab page, and burlesque (genre) is clearly some kind of subarticle. Pay no heed to the length of these things if it's obvious that they will need to be subarticles of articles IN THE FUTURE. SBHarris 06:27, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your replies. IMO the difficulty lies with merging (or not) articles of approximately equal importance. (Splitting sub-pages off overlong articles has rarely, if ever, been controversial.) Here are some common scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: two groups of editors develop two overlapping articles on closely-related (if not identical) subjects from different perspectives. Someone suggests merging Article A into Article B. Article A editors object. (For example articles on genres that are difficult to define, like Burlesque and Burlesque (genre).)
  • Scenario 2: two groups of editors develop two articles on the same subject from different perspectives. Someone suggests merging Article A into Article B. Article A editors object. (Past examples have included articles on ballets, with pages about the music contrasting with ones on choreography.)
  • Scenario 3: two groups of editors work on the same article about a film (or musical or whatever). One group work on the original version, the other group works on the re-make (adaptation, or derivative work) possibly in another language. One group wants it all to be in one article, the other group wants it split. (Past examples have included musicals produced in different countries, in different language versions.)

In my experience these situations result in poorly-argued discussions that often result in a 'half merge/half split', with a lot of duplicated text (as currently with Burlesque etc.).

How should these situations be handled/resolved? --Kleinzach 01:58, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Personally (full disclosure: I was the main driving force behind cleaning up the Wikipedia:Merging page, which was even less informative beforehand), I'm wary of trying to put in place "hard guidelines" for merging (or splitting, i.e. WP:AVOIDSPLIT) articles, as most situations are different and unique. I would certainly say you would see Scenario 1 more than anything else.
As with any proper wiki process, mergers (or splits, in this particular case) are, and should, be discussed on the articles' discussion pages. However, I a good reason why many merger or split proposals do not go through is because of improper planning of details behind them – more precisely what and where to merge or split. It's easy to say "this should be merged/split", but I would argue, especially with the more contentious article, how the merger or split should work is a harder issue to address. –MuZemike 03:17, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
"a good reason why many merger or split proposals do not go through is because of improper planning . . ." Agreed. Would it help if Template:Merge required some detail about 'what' and 'where'? --Kleinzach 04:56, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
As I have tried to better spell out at Wikipedia:Merging#Proposing a merger, using the {{merge to}} and {{merge from}} tags (BTW, both templates have good documentations) to correctly point users to proper locales. I would also contend that some script (or even Twinkle) could integrate this without much difficulty. –MuZemike 07:24, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

The other big problem I find is that in general, discussions on merging or moving articles are underpopulated. There are too many places for editors to review things. I really hoped that merge discussions would be merged into Articles for deletion, as merging is a common outcome there. Casliber (talk · contribs) 05:04, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

But there you don't have any actual discussion or planning with the merge; all you get is lockstep factionalism and voting, which is not sound wiki discussion process. Moreover, I would contend you don't get much more coverage (if any more) in a centralized locale than you normally would on local talk pages. –MuZemike 07:19, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
My experience of these merge/split disputes is that they always involve lockstep factionalism on the page in question. Immediately after they start three or four uninvolved (but AGF-disinclined) editors appear to support one of the protagonists. A centralized page might be a good idea (though I don't like the idea of putting mergers in Articles for deletion as I think it would be confusing).
That really brings us full circle on this. I'm a great believer in 'due process' but in this case process doesn't take us far enough. We need some guiding principles that can be used to deal with the three scenarios (and similar situations) described above. --Kleinzach 04:03, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
One thing that works a fair amount of the time is notifying the relevant WikiProject(s). Those editors will probably understand the background. While they may hold opinions, they are less likely to be entrenched on either side of the dispute. Flatscan (talk) 05:14, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

No prediction in articles, even verifiable and not original research?

Smallbones and I have different opinions about whether Predictions for a second wave of the financial crisis should be kept in Financial crisis (2007–present). By refering to WP:CRYSTAL, Smallbones argues that the predictions are not allowed. However, I think that the policy implies that Wikipedia does not collect unverifiable prediction or editor's own analysis. The predictions in question are verifiable as it referenced to a paper from a peer-reviewed journal. Also, it is common to see predictions in articles, e.g. 2012 contains predictions about Solar eclipse. Another example is 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, which provide predictions of tropical activity. Even if one can argue against a given prediction, we should present the ideas from both sides instead of removing it, like Vulcan (hypothetical planet). I do not want to have an edit war. Please give comments.--Quest for Truth (talk) 03:51, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Please join the discussion in Talk:Financial crisis (2007–present)#Second wave of the crisis section. --Quest for Truth (talk) 18:55, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

External links in the body of the text

What is our policy on external links in the body of the article? I'm sure it has been discussed before, but as there is no info on WP:EL there must not be a consensus? I see some discussion currently at WT:EL, and there are tons of topics in the archives. Surely there should at least be some mention in the text of EL so at least people can stop asking what the policy is. I know some of these links are helpful, and some are attempts at refs. Most, however, are either linkspam or links to items that aren't notable enough for articles (check out any List of bands from...' article for examples). Personally, I've always liked the idea of a bot-tagged hidden category, so that we can keep tabs on the good links and get rid of the bad. At the very least, we should make some comment on the practice. Thoughts? ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 06:29, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Some are acceptable. There are a few templates that have them in appropriate situations but it's rare. A reference can contain an external link - but then again it's not classed as an external link when a reference. I can't think of any other situations. Can you give an example? Link to an article that has one of more external links that is not in an external link section, and not in a template or a citation? Regards, SunCreator (talk) 06:45, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
List of cable television companies, List of The Angry Video Game Nerd episodes, List of bands from Bristol, Nintendo DS homebrew are just my first guesses (though I already knew about the second one). Lists of companies and anything relating to the "game modding scene" are sure bets. Often I'll see an article on a famous game or software, with "and someguy is currently working on this better thing here!"▫ JohnnyMrNinja 06:54, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
In those cases I think the links should go into references as they are referencing something. The nerd YouTube links seem to be an exception and those I would remove or put into EL(if they have no copyright issues) because they aren't references and the article does not require them in the body. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 07:09, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't see why just because something is a web program means the links need to be there. If one keeps them there, why not put them on, say, List of X-Men: Evolution episodes too, as that has official YouTube videos. I'm sure the majority would agree they aren't appropriate in the later case. So just link to the official site and people can get to individual episodes from there, just in the same way that people can get to official M Myspace, etc, pages from official sites. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:41, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
That is good point too, just because there is an official YouTube channel doesn't mean that they want everyone to go there. Most likely they would prefer to make money off of DVD or iTunes sales, and put up official videos to combat the unofficial ones which they get no profit from. In the case of the Nerd videos, I think they were removed and later put back because they were quite useful as a WP:DIRECTORY. Looking at the talk page now, I see there is currently an RfC on this very topic. Surely this is more reason to clarify policy? ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 22:37, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
As pointed out in the discussion Johnny mentions at WT:EL, there are two specific, concrete examples of good uses for external links in the body of an article named in the WP:EL guideline (first footnote). The current consensus on lists is to not mention them in the guideline. (If we say that ELs are never allowed in lists, we tell lies; if we say that ELs are allowed in lists, we end up with disputes over spammy links.)
In general, the guideline's talk page is the best place to discuss specific issues like this. I would, however, suggest actually reading the guideline before proposing any changes to it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:24, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Order of British Empire in infobox at the top

See this edit. Is that really necessary? It already mentions the order in the text. To have the CBE at the top of the infobox seems overkill. I thought I saw a discussion about this one time but can't remember where I saw it. Garion96 (talk) 21:20, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Don't know about a central discussion, but the issue came up at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Football#Playername in footballers' infoboxes earlier today. It seems one user's been adding OBE/CBE/MBE to just about every infobox he could. No consensus for or against so far, but limited support at best. Alzarian16 (talk) 21:34, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Welcoming committee and global accounts

When I follow a link (from anywhere) to a Wikimedia project I haven't visited yet, I sometimes get an email in a language I don't speak. The explanation for this is the following.

  1. I use a global Wikimedia account, so if I visit a project I haven't yet visited, the software automatically creates an account on that project for me with my username.
  2. This local account will know about my email address.
  3. Someone from the welcoming committee of that project will write a welcome message in the language of that project, even if I don't do any edits with that account.
  4. The local account is default be configured in such a way that it sends me an email if my talk page changes.

Getting emails I don't understand just for following a link seems wrong to me, especially because this link can an unidentified link anywhere on the web. But which of the above components is the wrong policy? Or is the fault in something I've done? – b_jonas 17:52, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

It's even worse at some, not all projects share our prohibition on auto-welcoming bots. IMO #4 is the main problem. Anomie 20:38, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Other projects also don't have a tenth of the throwaway accounts we do; it works for them. But I agree with Anomie; #4 is problematic. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:48, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
This isn't the place to be complaining about it; try Ajraddatz (Talk) 19:18, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

{{reimprove}} Jules Verne

Is it appropriate to tag Jules Verne with {{reimprove}}? The article, which makes the assertion that Vernes is the father of science fiction has but 4 references, with many sections lacking a reference of any sort. User:Headbomb removed the tag stating "Remove gratuitous templating. There's no set number of references that someone "deserves". Use [citation needed] tags as needed if you feel some things are not supported by the references and external links)" I don't believe the external links section is designed to serve as a substitute for a references section.Smallman12q (talk) 23:40, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

I has 4 inline references, 4 additional "further reading", and 11 external links. That's plenty. Could references be improved? Sure, but that would just be part of improving the article in general. However, as far as verification goes, these are plenty, and verification does not rely on an arbitrary number of references being present. If specific passages are uncertain, use {{cn}} or similar, which lets editors know what you think needs to be improved, rather than claim "there are only X references, thus this article does not comply with WP:V". Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 23:58, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Blocking practice

I was just wondering about a few technical aspects of blocking that would be inappropriate to test on real users. Is there a practice account that I'm allowed to block and unblock at will? And if not, is it okay to practice on my alternate account? I can't find anything relevant at Wikipedia:Blocking policy. Nyttend (talk) 03:31, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

As the alternate account, I hereby consent to this practice if it be necessary :-) Nyttend backup (talk) 03:33, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
User:ThisIsaTest is the more-or-less official "blocking practice" account. It probably needs to be documented better than it currently is. Gavia immer (talk) 03:42, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer! I've added a link to it from WP:BLOCK's see also section. Nyttend (talk) 04:05, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanked once, thank twice

  • Thanked once, thank twice is the practice of, once having been thanked by one person (presumably a Wikipedian) for one's contributions to Wikipedia, then choosing two separate Wikipedians and thanking each of them separately for their edits or other contributions to Wikipedia.

The above is my idea for a policy/suggested practice (Wikipedia:Thanked once, thank twice) to promote civility. This policy (or simply the practice) would also help with the creation of a Wikipedia:Criticizing articles guideline or policy. Hyacinth (talk) 01:01, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

That's the absolute worst idea for a policy I've ever seen. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 01:12, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Trying to force thanks cheapens the whole thing, making sincere thanks suspect. Good intentioned but awful idea. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:33, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
If it worked, the number of 'thanks' would grow at an exponential rate, and rapidly bring the system to a halt! Thanks, but no thanks... AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:36, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it's a pyramid scheme. A simple pay it forward approach might be nice to suggest, but it will only ever be an essay, not a policy or guideline. Fences&Windows 01:58, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I've suggested to Hyacinth that they write an essay, and pointed them to Wikipedia:Wikilove too. On that topic - I know snark is enormous fun, but can we be a bit, well, nicer when someone raises a suggestion like this? Fences&Windows 03:20, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I would if it wasn't so offensive to me to even /think/ about it. It continues to boggle me whenever anyone tries to tell others when they should say thanks, because it completely degrades the point of it in the first place. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 05:11, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
But it wasn't intended to be offensive. There's no need to go overboard like that, it just discourages people from raising new ideas. Fences&Windows 20:37, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it's good to be reminded about the benefits of pleasant behavior. I am never offended by someone reminding us that (for example) some poor admin spent days cleaning out a backlogged category and deserves an endless string of barnstars for a usually thankless task. (I've also noticed that however much deserved, such praise is in distinctly short supply. There's always someone with an hour free to join in on a complaint, but rarely more than two people who will take even sixty seconds to say 'thanks' or 'well done'.)
Hyacinth, I have another suggestion that you might consider including in your essay: Perhaps when someone criticizes a well-intentioned effort, the critical person should think about finding someone or something else to praise. It's amazing how often people complain about the 1% that we screw up, while overlooking the 99% that is good. The result is that our public conversation is strongly negative, even though what we do, in the end, is rather good. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:05, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Move it!

Actually i was just wondering why moves are marked as minor edits. Simply south...... 10:39, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

It's also possible to mark a redirect or a new page creation as minor. Neat! ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 00:23, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (summary style) has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (summary style) (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Changing username/Guidelines has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Changing username/Guidelines (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Changing username guidelines no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Changing username guidelines (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Housekeeping. –xenotalk 02:44, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Copying CC-BY-SA material from Knol to Wikipedia

I am interested in copying some text licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 material from Knol to a Wikipedia article. The licenses match so I assume this is permissible, but haven't found any suitable template for giving the required attribution. There are templates such as Template:Citizendium but no Knol template. Should such a template be created? Anyone familiar with the policy and requirements regarding such templates? Marokwitz (talk) 07:23, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

I have no doubt that you can do it - try {{CCBYSASource}} as a template to tag the article with. Additionally, if you do this with several articles, you should probably keep a list of all the pages (in your userspace), so that should there be some issue with this, you can find all the articles easily. And add a reasonable (short) attribution note in the edit summary, indicating what URL you got tthe information from. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 12:47, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
I would also caution against importing chunks of text from Knol. It's hardly a reliable source. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 23:59, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Half their content is copied from here anyway. Beeblebrox (talk) 08:56, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Recent change patrolling, "rollbacks" (whatever that means), and false positives for vandalism

I've recently had several edits reverted by recent change (RC) patrollers. My edits may have been good or bad, but they were not vandalism. They should not have been reverted by editors who didn't take the time to read the article or the Talk page or the article history; the editors shouldn't have labelled me a vandal. So, what concerns me about it is that it happened three times. It appears to be a systemic problem.

The summary of the sequence is: 1) I took out ("blanked") some newly added material and gave a reason in the summary, 2) I did it again (since my revert was reverted by an opposing editor), and didn't repeat my summary, 3) I was reverted for vandalism via GLOO, 4) I undid that without summary, and was reverted again for vandalism via HG, 5) Again, I restored the edit this time with a new and longer edit summary, and 6) Again, I was reverted for vandalism via GLOO. In the last case, my edit--with a summary--was reverted within 3 minutes. I hadn't even finished typing my comment on the Talk page before it was reverted.

None of the patrollers who reverted me had any opinion about the content; they weren't regular editors of the article. They were acting on false positives for vandalism. Uncorrected false positives add fuel to budding edit wars and are generally disruptive. A bot can robotically revert according to some algorithm. Human editors should be accountable for their edits, and for doing things like checking article histories and Talk pages to make sure their accusations of vandalism are accurate. In the ensuing discussion, the patrollers have asserted that the first two false positives were my fault because I didn't use an edit summary. They have argued that they don't have time to check the Talk page. I disagree.

If RC patrollers refuse to take care in reverting, they should not be allowed to patrol. Maybe some sort of limit on the number of false positives, and removal of rollback rights when a limit is breached, would help fine tune patrolling.

The article in question's history is here: [[5]]. There is a discussion of the issue on my Talk page [[6]] (you have to scroll down to the paragraph beginning "I have to jump in here. I'm another one of the RC patrollers..." Note: there has been a fair amount of heat in this issue. I'm not trying to defend or apologize for my behavior (except to note that undoing the false positives was considered edit warring by me). I want a discussion of RC patrolling and policy. Should the de facto definition of vandalism be: "any content removal without an edit summary." That's what it has become, among some RC patrollers. Mindbunny (talk) 07:38, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

I think the right placee for this discussion is at Wikipedia talk:Recent changes patrol, not here. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 12:15, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Hi. thanks for the tip. That looks like a forum for patrollers (it also has low participation). I'm hoping for a broader discussion. Mindbunny (talk) 19:01, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
The various policies are fairly clear about it, as you're probably aware, and that's unlikely to change. There are several essays advising RCPs to really examine the edits, such as WP:DOLT. There will always be mistakes, inexperience, and there will always be over-enthusiasm to be the first to rollback vandalism. The solution, for the RC patroller, is to stick to manual reverts, and if they're beaten to it then nothing's been lost except an inflated edit count. It's a mug's game to attempt to keep up with the vandalism by yourself. With the widespread availability of reversion tools, short of banning a user from using them, the only thing left for victims is to educate the culprit. Politely complain about it, a few times if it happens again, and if there's no improvement in their behaviour get an admin to look into removing their tools. -- zzuuzz (talk) 19:26, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Hi. I don't actually know what the policies are. 3/3 of the RCP's I talked/argued with believe they shouldn't have to check the Talk page. I didn't realize RCPing is a racing game. Mindbunny (talk) 20:00, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, maybe the policies are not fully written, but it is policy - don't go around calling good faith edits vandalism. It's probably in WP:VAND, WP:AGF, WP:RCP, arbitration edicts, the admins' archives, some other place, or a combination. RCP can be, de facto, a race to revert vandalism quickly. There should be no need to check the talk page in the overwhelming majority of cases. The edit should examined exclusively in terms of whether it's a good faith attempt to improve the article before calling it vandalism. -- zzuuzz (talk) 20:11, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) (SMACK...Boomerang hits Bunny on the head) What is this? You call a polite warning from Tide Rolls "vandalism"? zzuuzz is precisely correct. Stop forum shopping.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 20:17, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Reminder: ...there has been a fair amount of heat in this issue. I'm not trying to defend or apologize for my behavior (except to note that undoing the false positives was considered edit warring by me). I want a discussion of RC patrolling and policy. Should the de facto definition of vandalism be: "any content removal without an edit summary." Mindbunny (talk) 00:22, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm with WP:RCP and, Mindbunny might have a bit of a point here. RCP is largely un-controlled, and at times un-united. And a little more development on guidelines and such might not be a bad idea. I know when I came into WP:RCP I was rather surprised that there wasn't much more to the group than a userbox. With the controversial nature that RCP can sometimes have (example: the edit war this post is about), the group needs to make sure it is on a united front. That there are strict standards that must be adhered to, otherwise, you get what happened here, three patrollers reverted edits multiple times, mostly because they were unaware of the situation. At least, I know that was the case with my reverting the edits. Bped1985 (talk) 21:53, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Mindbunny, please post diffs where someone has accused you of vandalism. Is it in an edit summary or a talk page warning? Where?
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 00:51, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── First, I would like to apologize again for instigating this entire tradgedy of errors. Second, let me at least share my rules of thumb for reverting section blanking and submit them for scrutiny and comment.

  • Is the section unsourced? If yes, then I'm unlikely to revert.
  • Has the user been blanking multiple sections of the article in multiple edits? This makes me more likely to revert them, even if unsourced but I'll usually look at the whole of the article outside of GLOO to see if there is a good reason for it.
  • Is the section sourced? In general I consider removal of a sourced section vandalism, but......
  • Did the user use a plausible edit summary? If yes, then I never revert while on RCP.

So in this case it was a sourced section removed with no edit summary. I think I looked at one of Mindbunny's previous reversions in the article and hit the other one with no edit summary. FYI, GLOO allows one to look at the history of the page, but not the talk page or a full view the page itself (which I consider major drawbacks of the tool). What I suspect happened next is that since Mindbunny was warned by myself, s/he showed up red in Huggle for Discospinster after reverting, who then reverted again (and gave a better revert reason, as GLOO unfortunately offers only one message). The next day when reverting, Mindbunny probably showed up red in GLOO for Bped1985, even though s/he used an edit summary and discussed the issue on the talk page due to the previous warnings from myself and Discospinster. Mindbunny, justifiably feeling bitten, then lashed out at all of the aforementioned editors. And Drama Ensued. With regards to the issue of the time-criticalness of RCP, I'm going to disagree a bit with my esteemed colleagues above. RCP is the primary defense mechanism against vandalism in obscure articles. Not every article has an active wikipedian watching it. In an ideal world, there would be enough RCP'ers that every edit on the 'pedia could be closely scrutinized. In the real world, there aren't enough people monitoring the edits to do that. (I can show plenty of edits to my watchlisted articles that were missed by RC patrol for hours). So there is some time pressure to check as many edits as possible, as there is not necessarily someone else to check those edits you can't get to on RCP. There's a balance between speed and accuracy, but with experience the former goes up and the latter approaches zero, as vandalism tends to follow certain patterns like I outlined above regarding section blanking. Sailsbystars (talk) 01:10, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Oh, one small additional comment. Both huggle and GLOO do not identify the first edit reverted as vandalism, but rather unconstructive. Contradictorily, both also use the rollback mechanism, which is ostensibly only for obvious vandalsim, even though the initial warnings do not classify the edits reverted as such. Sailsbystars (talk) 01:28, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you...precisely my point in asking for diffs. Bunny keeps inferring that she was always reverted for vandalism. I see no actual edit summary or talk page warning that says this. Yes, GLOO is based on rollback and it is supposed to be used for vandalism reverts but Bunny is also drawing the conclusion from the start of this thread that when reverted using Huggle, it was also "vandalism". I see that she was told by admin, Magog the Ogre, that "However, based on the fact that none of the actual reverts of your edits were actually vandalism reverts (i.e., they were mistakes or misreadings of the situation by the reverters)..." but Bunny is hard of hearing and decides to create this drama by forumshopping (placing notices at WP:CVU, WP:RCP, and several talk pages) to ask the question, "Should the de facto definition of vandalism be: "any content removal without an edit summary." That's what it has become, among some RC patrollers."
This illustrates that Bunny has still missed the fundamental points that she wasn't reverted or blocked for vandalism. She doesn't have a good understanding of what that means and further hasn't grasped her situation was edit-warring, being disruptive, and failing to follow BRD. This page is for policy discussion and not the right venue to carry over a content dispute and subsequent misbehavior by Bunny because she still doesn't get it and sore that she was "reverted for vandalism". Which policy are you wanting to discuss here and what changes are you trying to effectuate?
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 02:02, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Sailsbystars, thanks for the revealing look inside RCP. It's not something I've ever paid attention to. Regarding the recent episode, it is important that: 1) my first revert of the "bold" edit did have a summary. I didn't repeat it because there was only one other editor, and presumably he knew my rationale. Also, I had made a comment in Talk by the time the RCPers showed up, and by the time the third RCPer reverted me I had made even more comments in Talk (or was in the process of typing them). Now that I have "insider" knowledge of how RCP works, I know a deletion without an edit summary is like a red flag to a bull, but the system shouldn't depend on editors having insider knowledge. RCP needs indicators for false positives. Those indicators probably require more time. Mindbunny (talk) 02:03, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

From my Talk page history:

  • " 03:51, 8 February 2011 Bped1985 (talk | contribs) (11,727 bytes) (Level 1 warning re. vandalism on Women's rights in Saudi Arabia (GLOO))" Diff
  • " 18:34, 6 February 2011 Sailsbystars (talk | contribs) (1,407 bytes) (Level 1 warning re. vandalism on Women's rights in Saudi Arabia (GLOO))" Diff

The issue is a red herring anyway. The reverts were made by editors making multiple revert per hour, obviously not because they had carefully read the article; they have admitted they never looked at the Talk page. You do that when you think there's vandalism. Berean Hunter has misunderstood the situation in other ways, but that's beside the point. This forum is for discussing policy.

Policies to consider:

  • Bped's comment needs addressing: "And a little more development on guidelines and such might not be a bad idea. I know when I came into WP:RCP I was rather surprised that there wasn't much more to the group than a userbox. "
  • Clarity on whether removal of sourced material without an an edit summary = vandalism. Note, in this case, I had given a summary, just not for each time I made the edit.
  • What about a way to report false positives systematically, and keep a score for each RCPer? Mindbunny (talk) 14:39, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
My apologies for not seeing the warnings you have pointed out which does change my read of the situation somewhat. I've struck through some of my comments above. I'm not sure that policy changes are warranted. They shouldn't have used the word vandalism unless it is blatant. Usually, that would be addressed by a third-party warning or note to them but not from the person warned. If it becomes a problem, the community will leave enough warnings that it becomes their "score" as you say. When it gets to the point that they are no longer trusted, access to the script tools are rescinded and they only get the tools back when and if they show competence for using them.
Not that I think a tool or system such as you describe should be employed but if it is, it should be strictly an admin tool. Admins would determine misuse...not regular editors, and admins would be the only one to see the results of said system. The problem I have with it is that it looks more like something the abusive vandals & trolls would try to manipulate and it could produce more controversy than solving problems.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 15:22, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it's important to make sure that these automated tools follow Wikipedia rules. They should not automatically accuse people of vandalism (in comments, edit summaries, or anywhere else) when it isn't clear they are. I think these tools and their stock warning messages are impolite to newbies and quickly take on an accusatory or threatening tone that should - at least - be reserved for the human operator to judge. Wnt (talk) 18:58, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Need new rule: Use variety product name spellings

I need help in re-wording WP:MOSTM to avoid the exceptions for "iPod" and "eBay" and allow a more consistent rule to only use lower-case names when the term becomes popularized as such; otherwise, use the exact spelling for variety (or spin-off) product names as they are spelled. See: Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(trademarks) about:

WP:MOSTM topic: "New rule: Use variety product names as spelled"

The policy has been inconsistent, advising to not "invent" names, but people have respelled the museum name "SPAM Museum" (as "Spam Museum") because they saw the word "SPAM" rather than a formal museum name, which should retain the original spelling, as would "iPhone 4" rather than becoming "Iphone Four". Join the discussion on that talk-page. This is a simple rule to define. -Wikid77 10:44, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Vietnamese) has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Vietnamese) (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Summary style has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Summary style (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

talk page attribution question

Thinking to hard about the license gives me a headache, but if I understand it correctly it is required that attribution follow an edit. So, if for some reason a user moved their talk page to a new name, blanked that page, and restored the content back to their current talk page without the history, that would break the chain of attribution, right? (We'll get to why anyone would do this later, right now I'm just after the answer to if this is a violation of the licensing) Beeblebrox (talk) 08:53, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Actually, instead of keeping this abstract I'm just gonna point to it:

involved pages are User talk:Porchcrop and User talk:Porchcrop/Older version, discussion already started at User talk:Porchcrop#page move confusion. It's late here, I'm going to bed, hopefully somebody who knows this licensing stuff can take a look here. Beeblebrox (talk) 09:00, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

(ec)In general, any signed comments are properly attributed as long as the correct signature is maintained. There are problems with the behavior you describe, of course, but copyright violation is not one of them unless the editor doing it goes out of their way to break signature attribution. Gavia immer (talk) 09:03, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
What I am trying to redact is (1) My email address [7] and (2) Other editors treating me like I am a "bad" editor, which is violation of WP:Etiquette and WP:AGF (I don't have any bad contributions, except for a personal mistake that was 2 years ago [8] and [9]). Even my userpage needs redactions. Lord Porchcrop POWER 09:14, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
See my latest comments on your talk. I've about had it with this. I have suppressed the email address, but the rest of it is appears to be asking for prep work to polish his image for Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Porchcrop 5. Beeblebrox (talk) 09:52, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Several of us have stated very clearly on his talk page and editor review that he really shouldn't consider another RfA for some time at this point. I'm not sure if you've acknowledged this point Porchcrop (no need to talk about you like you're not in the room...), but another RfA anytime within the next year will only serve to hurt your reputation and make it even harder for you to become an admin in the future. Focus on making quality contributions and seek another editor review in six months or so to see where you are. Before you post an RfA, ask a few users you trust for some feedback. There's no rush and you will be ready one day, but trying to erase the past isn't going to make that day come any sooner. Zachlipton (talk) 10:11, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
What's the big deal here? So far as I know, you have unrestricted latitude to up your user pages for deletion when you're tired of them, and blanking the page marks it for deletion. Even a user who is blocked has (last I looked) the right to blank the page after he's read the notice. The user page is intended as a communication forum, not a scarlet letter. If Porchcrop has really been in such a mess as some here are making out, there will be enough evidence scattered around Wikipedia without relying on his user page. Fundamentally, I thought the whole idea of taking a conversation to user talk was to make it less formal than at RfA or any other applicable forum. Wnt (talk) 19:08, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Note: normally, removing other editors' history attributions from an article would break required attribution; however, talk page comments are attributed with signatures. So long as all remaining comments are signed, there should be no reason not to add back part of a talk page. Wnt (talk) 19:12, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
You are allowed to remove anything you like from your talk page at any time, that is true. If he wanted to archive the page by moving it and then remove stuff he didn't want in the archive that would be fine too. I don't think the writers of the talk page policy ever envisioned a scenario where a user restored the comments without the history and then refactored it to make themselves look better. Whether it is technically permitted by policy or not it is terribly dishonest. We almost never delete a user talk page, even if the user has blanked it. Do we make an exception if they decide to end-run that portion of policy like this? I say no, we don't, and actually I believe WP:UP#OWN and WP:DELTALK support that position. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:22, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Per WP:Criteria for speedy deletion#U1 and WP:User pages#Deleting your user page or user talk page, user talk pages are usually not deleted. I think the underlying desire for transparency also covers history obfuscation using moves. Flatscan (talk) 05:13, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
The U1 criterion speaks of "exceptional circumstances" when information needs to be kept, and there was a term in WP:User pages about keeping evidence for admin proceedings dating back to 2008; I would assume these to have applied only to vandals, people tied up in ArbCom proceedings and so forth. But it is true that WP:User pages comes out very strongly against this practice since FT2 rewrote this guideline last March. But I don't agree with this scarlet letter approach, and I didn't know it had been formalized. 08:57, 12 February 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wnt (talkcontribs)
I think no additional attribution is necessary, but I asked at WT:Copying within Wikipedia#Signed comments in discussions. Flatscan (talk) 05:13, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Mediation has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Mediation (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Strictly as an FYI, an editor has amended the tag from {{guideline}} to {{proposed}}. –xenotalk 16:04, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

How can I develop an hypothesis article in Wikipedia?


My first attempt to put my Big Bang Hypothesis on Wikipedia was removed in 2007. I have now further developed my hypothesis and it is perfectly logical, fits many observations by others and I believe it is at the very least worthy of discussion. I would also like to receive a wide audience for it and critical comment to help me develop it further. I make it clear that it is a hypothesis, that is how all theories start out and I would like it published on Wikipedia please.

I have been in touch with the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. They say I have to disprove existing theory first, which amounts to proving a negative as they agree. I believe my hypothesis enhances current theory and fits current observations. Surely there must be some room on Wikipedia for a perfectly logical hypothesis. If my hypothesis is correct it would be ground breaking and lead to a far better understanding of the Universe. On a practical note it could also lead to a machine that could build objects from any energy source, including that we currently term as matter. It would enable a kind of 3 dimensional fax machine, which would greatly assist our exploration of the Universe.

Your help would be appreciated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bwallum (talkcontribs) 11:16, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, but as Wikipedia is neither a publisher or a discussion forum, it would not be appropriate to include your material. Wikipedia is a tertiary source, meaning it is a composite of reliable secondary coverage, and should generally only represent new theories once they have been vetted by organizations such as the one you mentioned above. As you are a primary source, we could not include your material as is. Please see our policy on WP:Original research, as well as our policy on WP:Reliable sources. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 11:35, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Try publishing in a scientific journal, wikipedia has a strict policy against original research as Johnny already pointed out. Yoenit (talk) 11:50, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
PLoS ONE is one of the most open among serious scientific journals.--Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:28, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
You can post original research on Wikinfo. Peter jackson (talk) 10:25, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
I knew knew the village pump was that easy to find. I've heard of WP:OR long ago, but only found out about the village pump recently.DontClickMeName talkcontributations 02:55, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Eliminating the waiting period for deletion of resized non-free images.

Below is the current template for tagging files after a non-free image or sound clip is reduced in size to meet fair use guidelines.

As you can see, it stipulates that after seven days an administrator can come by and delete the previous, larger version from the page history.

My proposal is simple, eliminate the seven day waiting period.

I have asked multiple people and have yet to find an answer as to how it is useful. In 99.9% of cases, this is a straight resize (or a resize with a minor crop to remove excess white space or a border.) Now, many resizes use a script, and Dashbot automatically resizes any images with the resize tag once a day. For the .1 percent of the time where the resize tag is used maliciously, to remove competing images in an edit war over images, or other such nonsense, removing the seven day waiting period would really have no effect, because it is the deleting administrator's job, whether it's seven days or seven seconds after the changes are made, to make sure that before he deletes the previous versions, that the change is a correct one. It says that in the template already.

With that, I rest my case and open this proposal up for consideration. Sven Manguard Wha? 02:52, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Another user has suggested to me that another alternative would be to reduce the time from 7 days to 48 hours. I'm not sure if I agree, but it's worth mentioning as an alternative. Sven Manguard Wha? 03:46, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Usually, the point behind a 7-day waiting period is to allow the image uploader to object before the file is deleted. Not everyone stops by Wikipedia every day. I assume that the usual reason is the point behind this particular waiting period, too. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:38, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
In the case of an unfree file, there are two editors supporting the resize, maybe three: the second uploader (who resized the image), the image tagger (maybe the same person, maybe not), and file deleter. These two-three people are all agreeing that the new version is more appropriate, so why wait? Non-free photos are easy to replace, and for that time we have two copies of the non-free photo hosted. Further, if someone is out there resizing images and recognizing the legal issue of having two copies hosted, it is likely that they have some idea how non-free criteria work, at least more than the average uploader. If the editor does object they will also have to justify deleting the reduced-size version. If the deleting admin deems it appropriate to delete the original version, then it is unlikely that anyone would be likely to delete the reduced version in favor of the larger version. Seeing as how there are always going to be three or more editors involved with this tag (one who might object, and at least two that support), just let that deleting admin be the judge. Why should we let non-free copyright violation images have a longer shelf life than a CSD-tagged "unimportant album" article, which can be deleted on sight? ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 06:07, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Just a clarification, the process of resizing is as follows: First a user notices that an image that is not free use is too large for fair use, (which generally prefers images less than 400 pixels on the largest size) then a user or bot comes along and reduces the size of the image to within accepted parameters, and places the above displayed template on the page. Seven days later, an admin deletes the old larger version only, leaving the smaller image in place. Sven Manguard Wha? 06:43, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Why the rush? The old versions are not visible in any articles. In the unlikely event that a legal complaint is made in the 7-day period, then the foundation can delete the old version immediately. I don't believe this has ever happened yet. OrangeDog (τε) 12:18, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree. It is all too easy to picture a copyright true believer being overzealous in reducing the file size. People editing the article should have a chance to notice and object without having to beg bored admins. Wnt (talk) 07:40, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, there's no rush here. There's also a history of out-of-control image tagging 'bots (see Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Δ). --John Nagle (talk) 19:10, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Table this? Honestly I think this was the wrong forum for this. Most people seem to have an inaccurate view of the process, it's scope, and it's participants. This is very much a behind the scenes service performed by experienced users. DashBOT itself does not go out hunting for things to resize, it is given its workload by around dozen people with knowledge of the resizing process and knowledge of fair use guidelines. It's so obscure and low impact that I can't think of any cases where it's been used abusively, and if there were any, they would have to be so blatant that any admin would notice them. In the end it boils down to efficiency (the clean up after yourself as you go principal) versus mitigating abuse. Contrary to the comments by Wnt and Nagle, there really is no capacity nor history of abuse in this process. I would have thought therefore that we should lean heavily towards clean as you go. OrangeDog's view, however, is reflective of the community's wait before you delete attitude. At this point, others should feel free to chip in, but barring a dramatic reversal of consensus, I'm ready to table this indefinitely. Sven Manguard Wha? 04:54, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

I think you mean shelve, not table. Why does American English have the exact opposite meaning of "table" to everyone else? OrangeDog (τε) 16:45, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
For the same reason we don't use the metric system, we might be wrong, but we're too stubborn to admit it (and we're damn proud of being "unique"). This leads to the interesting logical leap of "you should learn it our way, because it's right, because it's ours." Sven Manguard Wha? 18:48, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
We're just rebels, like that. It's how we roll. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:53, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
It's not at all uncommon for me to see a Fair Use image that is too low-res to fully make out. Whether that is legally required, I'll let someone else argue; but my feeling is that even seven days is probably too short for people editing an article to realize that the resolution of a figure they aren't paying attention to has been made too poor. Wnt (talk) 01:10, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh my. Well the script doing the resizing currently is optimized to generate the largest image it can, however it dosen't do as good a job as I can do manually (Paint.NET's resizing algorithm appears to be the best one out there). Either way, I shoot for a decent size and look, and the bot is even more generous with the sizing (creating the largest image possible where the dimensions are, when multiplied, the same as a 400x400 image). I've seen some bad fair use images out there, but those were not resized, they were taken as is, AFAIK. If you ever need a better one, don't be afraid to ask me, I'll do the best I can. Sven Manguard Wha? 01:20, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, an example that comes straight to mind is File:Jyllands-Posten-pg3-article-in-Sept-30-2005-edition-of-KulturWeekend-entitled-Muhammeds-ansigt.png, where the text for many of the cartoons is unreadable. The last edit describes it as a reversion of something, but because the previous versions are deleted I have no idea what the original upload size was. Wnt (talk) 18:41, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I talked with some admins who could see the other versions, all 19 of them, and apparently, oddly enough, the current version is the largest version of the bunch. It was reduced, the reduction was reverted, and based on presence of 17 "(Reverted to earlier revision)" summaries, I'm guessing it turned into a firestorm. Either way, there are two things to realize here. First, most images do not have that much text, or that small a size of text, and second, if one in 1000 images has a bad result, the proper course of action is to address those on a case by case basis, not to make handling the other 999 more complicated. I tried to help, if there was a better version, I would have done the resize over for you, but there's nothing I can do at the moment. Sorry, Sven Manguard Wha? 17:53, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into that! But I still don't understand how the wait makes things any more complicated. What does it matter how much delay there is between the edit and the time the page gets tossed onto the pile to be processed? Wnt (talk) 06:18, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Ten Bulls' Shit (Fair_use vs. fairplay)

I'm not amuZed AT-ALL to see one of my former contributions being arrogated by another person and, later, being deleted:

Being interested in Zen, I gathered, a while ago, the complete 'ox herding' series, downloaded the files, arranged them, created the necessary "fair use rationale" (which is less easy for a non-native speaker) &c. and uploaded the file in WP-allowed format GIF. Took some 3+hours.

I recently noticed that user:Hugahoody downloaded same file, saved it as PNG, re-uploaded it, using same description+rationale, under his own name. Any idiot could have done such within <10min (~1-2min for download, ~3-4min for opening the file and saving it in another format, and another ~1-2min for re-upload the file under his own name). The GIF I originally created and uploaded was afterwards deleted, some day.

Is this the way contributions to WP shall be handled in the future?

NB: The 2 files on the right edge of this article are no "PD", either. Maybe, Mr. or kid 'Hug~~' takes the time to copy my rationale+file_description over thoseones.

FY ("For Your" information)

[w.] 10:47, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Conversion to .PNG and deletion of the old version is standard practice for non free GIF images. Apparently this is because .PNG supports Alpha compositing and Lossless data compression and .GIF doesn't. I see the version by Hugahoody does not mention you at all, which is impolite. The whole point is moot however as this image is definely replacable by an (older) public domain version, so a non-free version is not allowed. Yoenit (talk) 11:51, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Disagree, because of
(a) see improved rationale and
(b), no data which were not in the original GIF could ever be "replaced" or improved in a PNG.
I wait for the answer on my request @publisher/owner-of-rights, who seems less narrowminded than enWP. [w.] 17:19, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I don't understand your a). Your b) is wrong: the explanation given was that png supports Lossless data compression and Alpha compositing, neither of which rely on data in the original gif. I slightly sympathise with you in that the person who converted it was incredibly rude not to acknowledge your upload. But I'm not really down with the hissy fit thing. People are sometimes thoughtless. Quite how that translates into "Is this the way contributions to WP shall be handled in the future?" is beyond me. --Tagishsimon (talk) 19:53, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

His a) is because I challenged the rationale of File:Ten Bulls by Tokuriki Tomikichiro (1902-1999).png. I still have a problem with the new rationale, but I will take it to Wikipedia:Non-free content review. Yoenit (talk) 20:06, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
The publishers allow online publication of this work; definitely needs to be confirmed. --Errant (chat!) 20:17, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I have started a non-free content review here. Note that a license which allows only online publication is not compatible with wikipedia. Yoenit (talk) 20:32, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • This text on the image description page wasn't properly attributed as required by the licensing terms, and the compilation should have been credited as a courtesy. This should resolve both issues. No comment as to whether this is appropriate nonfree use. –xenotalk 22:44, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Hi, I'm Hugahoody, the 'incredibly rude' user you have been discussing in part. I have not mentioned previous uploads when uploading PNG replacements of files as quite often they are completely remade by myself, using screenshots and cropping tools to create as PNG files. The main attribution these images need is to the organisations they belong to. Copying over rationales generally did not create any issues and made the process more efficient. To be honest, the way W. has made reference to me makes me quite apathetic to this case. Hugahoody (talk) 23:06, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Apathy aside, please be mindful to properly attribute in the future. The text on image description pages is licensed under cc-by-sa and must be attributed if it is reused elsewhere. –xenotalk 23:12, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification :-) Hugahoody (talk) 23:17, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
It is my understanding, backed by the .gif article, that all the software patent nonsense with GIFs ended way back in 2004. So I unless I'm missing something, there's no strong reason to replace the files. They're in a well-known, lossless compression format. I know that with the right file type (indexed color with only a few values) .gifs can be much smaller than any replacement - especially when what you're in possession of is a .gif file to begin with. Wnt (talk) 03:23, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
  1. TX @wnt for his comment. athough is true that PNG files would usually be smaller than GIF, IF properly compressed. Adobe PS6.0, which I still use, does not, and this is why I do not use it since GIFs are "generally allowed format" (which is later than 2005, when I started contributing; I think it was ~2007-2008. Before, just animated GIFs were "generally allowed".) On file sizes of those two versions "in question", I cannot say anything, having removed the output from my computer after thinking the file would be "save" on enWP...
    Recently I made a quick doodle (solid black on white) of a resistor network as part of a refdesk discussion. The level 9 (maximum) compression with GIMP for PNG was 17 kb, and for GIF it was 9 kb. This is absolutely what I'm accustomed to seeing. If it were a color photo from the digital camera, the shoe would be on the other foot. I think a good rule of thumb is that if there are well under 256 actual colors/shades in your drawing, GIF will come out on top. Wnt (talk) 06:25, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  2. @Hugahoody: I have to apologize for my wording. I was somewhat "enervated" when seeing a ~1:1 copy of my "at least" 3hrs work being uploaded by third party under his name. Just take your time to look for the complete series, to find them in viWP [well, Google was able, at that time ;], to download 10 JPEGs, to re-size them, to arrange them (took quite a while until I decided to display them in just one row, to be "readable" for "Westerners" as well as for "Easterners", to research on copyright status which erroneously was given to be "PD" by the source, and to create the "fair use" rationale. I compare this to the VERY few minutes you took to create YOUR upload -- you did not even replace my "GIF" by your "PNG" in the rationale!
  3. @Yoenit: TX. I am going to contact the publisher ASAP and I propose to continue talk on Wikipedia:Non-free content review#File:Ten Bulls by Tokuriki Tomikichiro (1902-1999).png, afterwards. I think that neither the 1999 deceased artist nor his US publisher would oppose to allow "fair use" (which, for enWP, they do not even need to allow), and I'd even imagine they might allow cc-by-sa3.0.
    Is that useful? The whole idea of Fair Use is that you don't have to ask. If you're asking, that's licensing - and only certain specific kinds of very free licensing will work here. There seems like little to gain, and the potential for annoyances. Wnt (talk) 06:29, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  4. @Rentwa who unfortunatly retired a while ago: You were wrong, in terms of WP policy. Creator deceased in 1999. Sorry, "in the name of all of us".
  5. @rationale: I still think, that the 20th century version of the 12th century "idea" cannot be replaced. Ancient versions can just be regarded as additional "references" to improve understanding of today's view. I.M.O. Please compare, for instance, deWP,

[w.] 08:29, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you W. I apologise also for any possible offence caused. I have been working my way through the images tagged as better stored in PNG format and those in JPG that have lost some picture quality. It seems the rest of your uploads had not been tagged for conversion. Hugahoody (talk) 18:42, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
PNG supports transparent backgrounds. Most GIFs have a white background which does not blend into many Wikpedia background elements. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 03:15, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand this argument. These are drawings, black on white. Not black on (Wikipedia background logo), in the unlikely event that some developer tries to put a patterned background behind our images and thereby win the Rotten Tomato Barnstar and the Rotten Cabbage Barnstar in the same day. Wnt (talk) 06:38, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

What happened with the Pending Changes trial?

I haven't heard much about Pending Changes, so I looked back at Wikipedia:Pending changes/Closure, which so far as I know, was the last thing that happened with this. This discussion/poll, closed as of last September, says "The scheduled two-month trial has ended. The community should now decide if the implementation is to be continued, and it should discuss possible adaptations, in terms of policy. Developers have indicated it would be too complex to turn off the feature, then turn it back on in case the decision is in favor of continuing the implementation, so they will wait for the community decision — unless it takes more than a month, in which case they will turn off the feature."

I don't see anything there or in Help:Pending changes about any subsequent resolution, and there are still between 500 and 1000 pages in Special:StablePages.

Did the decision about what to do with PC ever happen? Did the promised technical upgrades ever occur? Are we still in the same "two months" and the same "month" as we were last September? Wnt (talk) 21:48, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Oh, there's also a Wikipedia:Pending changes/Straw poll on interim usage, which occurred somewhat after the previous, with a "hard close date of December 31, 2010". Wnt (talk) 08:33, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

I do not know, but if a vote or voice is ever needed in support of Pending Changes, please count me in as support. It is a step towards "high quality Wikipedia". History2007 (talk) 09:03, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I can't deny that it stops a lot of simple vandalism; but I've also seen comments about people accidentally reverting something, or people mad about being reverted, and various other miscellaneous issues. I haven't seen final results from the two-month study. And I think that there's a problem when you set and break three different deadlines - it creates a sense of continuismo. I think that other experiments like Wikipedia:Templates_for_discussion/Log/2011_February_7#Template:Invitation_to_edit may suffer when people feel like a small test means a permanent policy. I'm not saying it couldn't or shouldn't be made policy (with appropriate restrictions), or even decreed by Jimbo Wales unilaterally, but when so many people get into long-winded debates and some final statement comes out of it, you'd like to see it mean something. Wnt (talk) 16:56, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
They were trying it on German Wikipedia I read somewhere. What happened there? History2007 (talk) 17:05, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Burj al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Millau Viaduct, Atomium: Should the "Freedom of panorama" policy change?

This is a matter of importance to Wikipedia editors of every language.

According to the policy currently in force, photographs of these exceptional buildings must be deleted from Commons.

Some editors take the view that, as it stands, this policy damages our fundamental mission as an educational resource. Others are happy for things to stay as they are.

You are invited to contribute to the debate at:

Freedom of panorama should be abolish

and on the talk page of

Proposed Policy on photographs of modern buildings

If you find you are not logged in when you look at these pages then see m:Help:Unified login or you can go directly to Special:MergeAccount to globalise your login. 9carney (talk) 17:56, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

These images are being deleted because they are copyrighted. It is against Common's founding principles to host copyrighted material. Individual Wikipedias can host these images under the fair use. (Although fair use is not universal; de.wikipedia does not use fair use images, for example.) The likelihood that the Commons policy on copyrighted images will change is approximately the same as the likelihood that we will start charging money for people to read or edit. --Danger (talk) 18:09, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Commons holds plenty of images which are copyright in some jurisdictions but public domain under US law. German Wikipedia does host high resolution images of these buildings but, by the choice of the community, it does not require any fair use rationale or EDP for them. 9carney (talk) 18:34, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Normally I'm quite happy to rail on commons, but this reeks of canvassing to drum up support for a position that clearly isn't getting support on Commons. Sven Manguard Wha? 22:01, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:CANVASS#Appropriate_notification describes this Village Pump as a specific example of appropriate canvassing. Canvassing is only deemed inappropriate when you try to stack the audience with people from only one side - and since you're allowed to pick and choose which WikiProjects you appeal to, there's even some room for gaming with that. Wnt (talk) 06:11, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Volunteer Response Team has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Volunteer Response Team (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Volunteer response team no longer marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Volunteer response team (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a policy. It was previously marked as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

This is just a page move, of course. Gavia immer (talk) 03:46, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Stub templates are useless content and belong only on the Discussion page.

Stub templates are meaningless content. Any one can see quickly whether or not an article is a stub. More important is the fact that they do not influence the rate of editing. Every incomplete article is, by definition, a target for expanding. It will happen spontaneously and naturally. If the article is important, it will grow fast. If there is needed an expert, it will grow slowly. No one will see a stub template and think "Hey, this is a stub, I have to expand it immediately".

If there is a need for improving the article, the discussion page is the appropiate and perfect place to dump a stub template. Even more effective. In the article, it is meaningless and redundant.

See also the absurd discussion at the WikiProject Chemicals (scroll to the second part of the discussion).--Wickey-nl (talk) 15:34, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

One thing you are missing is that a stub template puts the article into a stub category so that users who monitor such categories have another source of articles within their sphere of interest that may need expanding. – ukexpat (talk) 15:55, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
adding articles to categories can be done via the talkpage or with an invisible template and is not a proper argument for the use of visible stub tags.Personally I like stub tags and don't consider them obtrusive, especially when compared with the cleanup templates. I do think the number of stub templates on a single page should be limited to one, as multiple templates below each other just looks retarded. Yoenit (talk) 18:41, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I've been kvetching for years to anyone who'll listen that the number of stub templates should be limited to one. (End users who don't understand Wikipedia protocols -- I understand there are a few of them -- are likely to be puzzled at the need for multiple templates to indicate that, yes, a given article is a stub. No, we actually don't think they are stupid & need to be told someting repeatedly.) I wonder why multiple stub tags can't be collapsed, just like WikiProject tags are. It couldn't be that hard to code. -- llywrch (talk) 23:25, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Here you can see that stubs do not work. I repeat that the discussion page is the best place for those templates, but making them invisible is at least a great improvement. Limit to one is apparently not a desired solution.--Wickey-nl (talk) 17:35, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
That is known as anecdotal evidence. Please present statistical evidence to back up your claim that stubs do not work or drop it. Also, you may not be aware that we have 3,5 million articles and less than 35.000 active contributors (>5 edits last month)[10]. That means for every wikipedian there are more than 100 articles, but we have somehow managed to get roughly 50% of them start class or higher. Yoenit (talk) 20:31, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
I sorta agree that we only need to identify an article as a stub in one place. The problem with implementing it though is that there are going to be 2nd level effects to only using talk pages. For one, most users don't look at them, secondly some articles don't fall neatly into a project to be given a quality assessment, three quality assessments can very by project whereas the stub template criteria is pretty cut and dry, also there are bots and scripts that populate the quality assessment on the talk page based on the stub template on the article and vice versa. I don't think this is going to be something that is fixed easily without seerious and probably contentious discussion. I have also suggested a multi stub template however that is also not an easily won argument. I think its more doable than completly eliminating them form the article though. I also think that we could devise a bot or something that would look at the article and gauge with a certain degree of accuracy if its a stub (not counting portals, categories, templates, infoboxes and persondata IMO). --Kumioko (talk) 20:46, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Just as a procedural note, if you are actually expecting to change this long-standing policy, a post on this page is not going to make that happen. You should probably open a request for comment on its own page and list it at WP:CENT since this would be a rather large change that would require a clear consensus. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:16, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Might be a good idea. I don't think many people would support these multiple stub notices on article pages. The stub thing has grown into a cumbersome bureaucracy and it would be good to cut it back. --Kleinzach 23:30, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Um, my point above was that if multiple stub templates make a page look ugly & insult the reader. The stub-sorting gnomes insist that their work is valuable in that the result helps interested editors find articles that interest them & turn them into proper articles. (I've encountered some anecdotal evidence that bears this out, but my blunt opinion is that their efforts is only marginally more useful than creating userboxes or claiming Admin abuse on WP:AN/I.) We could hide them by using something like {{collapse top}} & {{collapse bottom}}, it would make these pages much more attractive with a minimum of WikiDrama & effort. Otherwise, trying to change how & where these tags are put would only succeed after much effort, countless edit wars & ArbCom cases, & driving away many editors who just want to write content & don't give a fuck about whether there needs be a "Ethiopia-politician-stub" template because the "Ethiopia-hio-stub" tag is used on too many articles. (Sheesh, if there are too many stubs in that category, why not just work harder into making them more complete articles?) -- llywrch (talk) 02:05, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
Just to point it out, talk pages already say if an article is a stub, via the Stub-class quality setting in any project template. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 21:37, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
This reminds me of WP:PEREN#Move maintenance tags to talk pages. I see an attempt to address the first issue there, but proof by assertion doesn't cut it. Anomie 01:55, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

I do see some value in having the stub-templates. It categorises the articles as having 'a problem' (however obvious), and putting them in groups like the category system makes sense as it would allow to group the small articles at least per WikiProject/Subject. I think that further sub-sub-categorising of the stubs is something that should be handled by the projects. There my personal thought would be to keep the stub-categories rather broad, and to keep the number of stub categories to a minimum. The real catagorisation can be done in the conventional way, it is not the task of the stub-templates to do that. However, it may depend on how big a Project-wide stub-category becomes to decide that some sub-sub-categorisation is necessary - but if an article is in categories A, B, C, D, and E, which are all a subset of category F, then stubbing generally is fine in 'stub category F' - if there are one or two categories, it may make sense to put it in the appropriate stub sub-category (note that while there may be only few categories necessary for a page, it may fall under a larger number of WikiProjects - each with their own stub-categorisation, which may massively increase the number of stub-categories, and may result in the list of stub-marks being larger than the article itself - that would be silly.

I don't have a specific preference for the place - mainspace or talkpage - both make sense, it has been a long-standing custom to have them in mainspace, moving them to talkspace would probably need a broad discussion, and a massive cleanup (for a long time, as editors may be unaware of the change in policy and still place them in mainspace). --Dirk Beetstra T C 09:24, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Stub tags are both useful for subject matter specialists in targetting priority articles to expand and are generally attractive; their appearance and location at the bottom of an article are far less obtrusive than most other tags, especially the cleanup ones. Limiting them to one negates the ability of e.g. more than one WikiProject to track and improve articles. I'd leave them alone - there are far more obtrusive tags we ought to improve. --Bermicourt (talk) 16:00, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I can understand having a stub tag, both as a sorting aid and as an embarrassed way for Wikipedia to say, "hey, well, we know this isn't our best work." The latter is probably the most important. But I do have to say, sorting stubs into specific categories is the sort of work that it really surprises me people actually do. Wnt (talk) 06:15, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Every one has the right to waste his time on his own way, but it is surprising that there are still people who think they are doing useful work by dumping stub tags. Even when it is not a stub at all. One might think about the goal of such. Yet, the stubs themselves are become the goal.--Wickey-nl (talk) 14:16, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Expert ambassadors policy

Someone asked me to help recruit recruit students to edit Wikipedia. That led to my going on my usual soap box to say that Wikipedia needs more experts. As is, articles such as search engine technology and statistical physics have zero references, although the personal life of Charlie Sheen is pretty up to date and the "marketing table" at Britney Spears products looks really impressive.

To be a credible encyclopedia, Wikipedia needs to recruit and "maintain" more experts. I would like to fix both search engine technology and statistical physics, but that would have to wait until 2013, given that in 2011 I am planning to fix all the articles related to computer generated imagery and in 2012 deal with the many scattered articles of robotics, both categories being in need of serious help. And I have not seen anyone work on these articles in a serious way. I can not single-handedly fix them all this decade. So we do need to recruit and maintain experts.

I think the Online Ambassadors programs need to be extended to have a specific focus on the recruitment of "top experts", say 5 professors per field, e.g. 5 professors who know the internet to go and fix the search engine technology related articles. It is just embarrassing for Wikipedia not to have solid information on search engines.

The experts need to be given attention in an ongoing manner, so they will stay with Wikipedia. I am not into long policy discussions, apart from using soap boxes to suggest things. Who can start a program to find experts, give them some type of special treatment so they will work for free and fix these articles? Those of you who know policy should really do something. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 10:12, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

In a sense, recruiting students and younger people to Wikipedia is a longer term solution to the issue you are addressing here. Getting people involved in developing Wikipedia while they are still trying to get their feet wet and developing their academic resume is to me a much better way to recruit than to take somebody who is already stuck in their ways. Besides, "experts" have already been contributing to Wikipedia off and on again.
By far and away the larger problem is the caustic environment that seems to drive some people from editing on Wikipedia or even wanting to get involved. It also takes more than a little effort to mature as a contributor on Wikipedia, and often these "experts" are not willing to take those steps as editing Wikipedia is a bit different of an environment than normal academic publications and conferences. Some can't get over the fact that contributions of "ordinary people" are treated "equally" to their contributions, and others simply don't like having their words edited beyond recognition.
Wikipedia isn't going to be built overnight, and it will adapt and change over time. There is a reason why the puzzle pieces are missing in the Wikipedia globe, as it will always be an unfinished project. My concern is that Wikipedia will turn into an on-line gathering place of old people who reminisce about the good old days when Jimbo used to do silly things and that younger contributors won't find this a relevant project to contribute to. Many of those students, over time, will turn into these "experts" and with some solid experience in working with the Wikipedia community, perhaps they will fill in some of the gaps that you are complaining about. I hope so. --Robert Horning (talk) 12:50, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the students do have "potential" for the future. But there is an old saying in marketing: "you can not eat potential". And experts should be advised upfront to stay away from the entry-level articles. Personally, I would not even think of making significant edits to the article on Algorithm. It is ok as a simple article, and there are enough people arguing over it (some of them correctly, some incorrectly) that there is no point in editing it. But the very same people who argue on the Algorithm page could not type on the page for search engine technology or Inference engine, so experts are needed where there is "no dispute, and even less content". If you look at the pages for Mathematical logic in general, you will see many high quality articles written by a few long time experts. In that case the trio of CBM, Hans Adler and Michael Hardy have done a great job together on a good number of articles. There is no similar trio in computing. And I do not know if there is in biology, etc. So Wikipedia does have resident experts - just not enough of them. So to solve the problems this decade instead of next decade, why not start an "expert ambassador policy" anyway? History2007 (talk) 13:26, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
'stay away from the entry-level articles' I think User:History2007 is onto something here. I would advise experts or specialist to keep away from active articles where many others are involved. Common misconceptions and biased sourcing overrule expert knowledge on such articles. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 15:37, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, why bother with the articles that score 60% or so on the quality scale, and 90% on the dispute scale when there are articles that score 5% on the quality scale and have no dispute because they are advanced topics? That was why I planned to work on imagery and robotics the next many months because no one is even editing them in a serious way. And I think many experts already have text that they use for their classes. For them, the effort for adding it will be minimal. I am ready to bet that many of the highly technical articles in mathematics came from the previous writings of experts. So finding a way to do get that into Wikipedia will be a good idea. It just needs a policy initiative to invite experts and to somehow "protect and advise" them as they get started via the help of ambassadors. History2007 (talk) 15:59, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
(responding primarily to SunCreator) I might not be so quick to criticise the editors. As something like Citizendium shows, the "let's throw around (un)reliable sources rather than take your word for it" policy has its problems, but also its merits too. Experts - and editors in general - need to be aware that sticking to dispute-free articles means that they will get less scrutiny, for better or worse. But yes, I agree with the key point made by History2007 that articles that score 5% are the best bet. - Jarry1250 [Who? Discuss.] 17:21, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

So there is not always a chance we can find an expert in a field able to write a Wiki article. This problem is compounded by the fact we expect a "common man" reading/comprehension level in most articles.

  • Experts in many fields tend to be opinionated; some of our worst disputes here are caused by two experts disagreeing. Whereas a non-expert editor with simply and interest could often summarise the topic (including the two sides of a dispute) with little dram
Well I do not mean to imply don't use references. References are essential. Many times the difference between an expert and general editor is the sources that would be choosen. An expert would know through experience and understanding which ones to use - and how to use them - i.e correct context, whereas a general editor would use a rule of thumb guidance i.e. WP:RS with little or no understanding of context. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 00:36, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
I do not agree with Citizendium's approach because it does not use a "free economy model" the way Wikipedia does. Wikipedia succeeded in the early days due to its free economy policies. However, said policies while maintained can encourage quality by attracting experts without giving them total power as in Citizendium. The example of Mathematical logic series is what Wikipedia should follow: quality via a few long term experts without blocking the general public. History2007 (talk) 17:29, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
The question is, of course, what to do when the general public (let's say, the quantity of reliable sources), disagrees with your experts. Citizendium sides with the experts; Wikipedia tends, on the whole, to side with the public interpretation. - Jarry1250 [Who? Discuss.] 17:36, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I do not claim to have all answers to all problems, but I do think this "fear of dispute" issue while valid is at times exaggerated. As an example, Probability measure used to be a redirect and I thought it should not have been, so I wrote the article in a day or two in June 2010 as a standalone item. Since then it has had 3 really minor edits by other editors, not a single case of vandalism and was viewed 2,500 times last month. So once one learns how to write technical articles in Wikiedia style they do not get disputed that much even if a couple of thousand people view them every month. And Probability measure was not a super advanced topic. So disputes can happen, but they are far more likely on pages such as Algorithm where everyone has an opinion, but not on somewhat more advanced topics. And the advanced topics are where help is needed. History2007 (talk) 18:16, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
There is no single answer to that question. It depends on too many factors; you could write a whole policy on it, and it would still be insufficient. It should be solved on a case-by-case basis. Mr.Z-man 20:28, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
But given that we are rolling the red carpet for the students, should we not have a red carpet for the experts? History2007 (talk) 20:36, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that you should not set the bar so high as to demand the experts be professors. Professors, after all, have a busy schedule and are accustomed to getting paid for their writing. Anyone with a Ph.D. in the field, or even Ph.D. students, can make a very incisive examination of a specific topic. It is true that an experienced teacher can do more to put things into perspective, and pick out the examples of greatest educational importance, but this is rarely a skill called on for article writing here. Wnt (talk) 20:44, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
Ok, no problem with that. I wanted to get to the "lecture notes" of the professors. But as you said even their grad students may be ok and I think they have access to that. Still I think a red carpet is in order. Current policies get us article like Inference engine. That must change. History2007 (talk) 20:47, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm not sure what you mean by "red carpet" in this context. All I'm saying is that there's no single answer to the issue that Jarry1250 mentioned, and that trying to make a policy to answer it could actually have the effect of making things worse. Mr.Z-man 20:55, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Oh no, oh no. Believe me things could not get worse on Inference engine. I left a note there 12 months ago that it is low quality. No one even responded. This year I am doing graphics, in 2012 I am doing robotics, so it may be 2014 before I can do Inference engine. You guys have people going around getting students to edit. Why not go around to get experts too. Anyway, I have had enough of this. This is exactly the attitude that turns off experts Mr Z. Why bother arguing about it. Do you see my point Mr Z? Anyway, I have been on this soap box enough here. Feel free to get someone else to fix Inference engine. That will be your test case. History2007 (talk) 21:01, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think you're comprehending my comments. I'm not at all saying that our articles are not of low quality, and I don't see how you can get that out of my comments. I think we should have more experts here. My first comment wasn't in reply to you (that's why I had the indent the way I did before you changed it to make it look like I was replying to you). I was only replying to Jarry's question about what to do when sources and an expert are in disagreement. I have only commented on Jarry1250's 17:36, 6 February comment; I don't think I can make that any clearer. Mr.Z-man 21:22, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
Anyway, I have said what I wanted to say several times now. No need to repeat myself. If you guys want to attract expert, you need to do something. The current system is not attracting them. And some are quitting. As is, there are many technical articles that are low quality and there is no one to fix them. Wikipedia needs to move beyond Charlie Sheen and Britney Spears products and that requires experts. I have said that enough times now. I will stop. History2007 (talk) 23:02, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
For a 'expert ambassador policy' two other things come to mind:
  1. the WP:COI requires a change of tone, because many experts would have a conflict of interest and even if they didn't, you can be sure the moment they say they are an expert at something they would have a load of "you have a conflict of interest" points put to them.
  2. the battle and war like culture that is rife at all levels of Wikipedia, would put off many experts and indeed already put of many valued contributors.
In the short term at least I think experts are better to be reviewers or advisors on active articles. As a member of WP:TURTLE we do have an expert and his opinion and guidance is greatly welcomed, although turtle articles are generally not active articles or contentious. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 00:57, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but in many of the advanced technical articles, there is no battle because there is no one editing anyway. And in many of those cases there is no conflict of interest because there is nothing to fight about.
Please look at this. There must be 500 books there. Then look at Digital signal processing (DSP) which has 3 references and is not well written. But the major problems are in all the articles it leads to. This is a fundamental topic and Wikipedia has failed on it and its subtopics, e.g. it leads to Motorola 56000 which itself has problems and to Digital signal processor which is also in need of help, etc. There must be at least 1,000 professors who teach classes on DSP, and any one of them could fix this and the articles it leads to. There will be no major fight here. I can do it in 2017, after all the other things but I would like see someone else do it before then.
That is the opportunity for improving Wikipedia beyond the obvious topics. History2007 (talk) 07:57, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Why would an expert want to edit Wikipedia? --Danger (talk) 02:13, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Because many experts value knowledge. They believe in science and technology. They love their field. They do not like sloppy errors. There are many high quality articles in Wikipedia written by such experts. Other experts such as myself are just misguided and think they will receive large wire transfers after every 10,000 edits.... sigh... History2007 (talk) 03:11, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
There are wire transfers? I thought I was supposed to ignore those emails, but I will take this under advisement. It seems like experts who work in knowledge generating fields already have little incentive to work on Wikipedia; the incentives you list are easier to get to in other media. When Professor X writes a blog, she doesn't have to worry about the inevitable 14-year-old rewriting her genetics article after biology class, nor the arcana of editing requirements and wiki-culture. The "why" barrier is one project that values experts so little and that has so little esteem in the academic world needs to take a gander at before attempting to recruit experts.--Danger (talk) 06:56, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
So are you trying to "create" these mind-barriers? Are you worried that the experts will take some of your wire transfers? As I have said above those problems exist more on the Charlie Sheen page rather than technical articles. It is not good to start with a defeated attitude. Read this: Talk:Computer_animation#Zero_references.3F. Did anyone bother me when I changed everything around? No. I have not finished that article yet but do not expect a battle at all. Did a 14 year old mess up on computer-generated imagery given that I rewrote 95% of it? No. It was a real mess before, now has been cleaned up, has 20 good references and there was no battle. No battle at all. No battle at all on that page. Did I say that before? History2007 (talk) 07:56, 9 February 2011 (UTC)


History, I just don't know what you want us to do. We can't force experts to edit and, those who did show up, often left in a huff because they don't like being questioned by non-experts. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 16:14, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Now that is a pragmatic question The Hand. What can we do? First: you can not force students to come and edit either, yet there is an "official program" to hoodwink the students, excuse me I meant invite the students to come and do free work. Now suppose a small scale official program is started to "invite" a few experts (mostly in the same domain) to come and help clean up some of the Wikipedia articles. What would we have to lose? The only thing we have to lose is the effort we spend inviting them. But given that:
  • There is already effort spent on inviting students
  • There is almost infinite effort spent on talk page bickering/nonsense all over Wikipedia
I think some people could be talked into becoming expert ambassadors just like there are student ambassadors. After all I started this section after someone tried to get me to become a student ambassador.
Suppose we did this: we get 1 or 2 of the student ambassadors to try and get 2 or 3 experts to help clean up just signal processing. The only problem is your "left in a huff" issue. I should point out that once there are 2-3 experts and they build mutual respect as they have on Wikiproject Medicine and WikiProject Mathematics they will soon figure out how to debate against any non-experts on the highly technical issues. Again, the experts should be advised to stay away from pages such as algorithm but on pages such as inference engine or digital signal processor or modified Harvard architecture there will be very little debate. That way, I will not have to fix those pages, and someone else will help. As you have seen from the examples of my edits I have edited a good number of technical pages and have not left in a huff. But I would not edit pages sch as algorithm. Some experts leave in a huff (and I am very unhappy that user:Radagast3 left due to an unfair 1 month block that was overturned too late and was not related to mathematical topics) but some stay, as WikiProject Medicine shows.
So how about organizing a "mini-effort" to improve the articles on digital signal processing by inviting a few experts. We all know there is unending talk all over Wikipedia, of we shave 1% from the talk, we can invite a few experts.
But what I really want you guys to do is "not accept mediocrity". Do not just assume that Wikipedia will for ever remain full of errors and that the only pages that will have correct information will be those on celebrity arrests. Do not settle for mediocrity and try to do "extraordinary things". Doesn't Jimmy Wales keep saying "extraordinary things" in the messages when he asks for donations? So let us go beyond mediocrity and not accept it as the norm. Let us start with digital signal processing and make Wikipedia be first class on that. History2007 (talk) 16:53, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Encouraging expert involvement is a great aim; and anything practical to do that should be encouraged. But there are issues:

  • Expertise in a subject is often not broad; or to put the problem more succinctly - we have a huge number more topic areas than we can feasibly recruit experts for.
  • Experts in a subject aren't always good writers. So there is not always a chance we can find an expert in a field able to write a Wiki article. This problem is compounded by the fact we expect a "common man" reading/comprehension level in most articles.
  • Experts in many fields tend to be opinionated; some of our worst disputes here are caused by two experts disagreeing. Whereas a non-expert editor with simply and interest could often summarise the topic (including the two sides of a dispute) with little drama.

Just food for thought; if the aim is to encourage expert involvement then those taking an active role should also be working on ways to mitigate the problems caused by expertise :) --Errant (chat!) 16:28, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

With all that said, our main problems (in terms of being a comprehensive encyclopaedia) is not a lack of experts in specialised topic areas... but a lack of engagement in general in the core topic areas (which are, frankly, a mess) --Errant (chat!) 16:32, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
All that said, is there anything to lose if we try to get Digital signal processing to become a "first class" set of articles as an experiment? Then we can use that experience to generalize. My hidden agenda (so please do not mention it to anyone) is to encourage a "do not accept mediocrity" mentality. History2007 (talk) 13:22, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── History, the Students program is because we already get students coming to Wikipedia to make edits. Often, it's because a teacher/professor had the bad idea to make an assignment out of editing Wikipedia, without knowing the site rules. Trying to correlate that to encouraging expert participation doesn't work. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:01, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Did we change (if at all)?

Just wondering, and checking my impressions. Can anyone point me to the latest serious WP: policy or guidance change? IMO, those who wrote them some years ago, now are the admins+ blocking change. What happened with "If needed, break every rule" I grew up with? -DePiep (talk) 19:24, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

WP:IAR continues to be a policy. --Tagishsimon (talk) 19:29, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
So ... no policy change at all in say 2 years? Wow, that's a long time in internet 4th dimension. Did someone ever invoke W:IAR successfully recently? -DePiep (talk) 19:33, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Policies change all the time. Policies are demoted to guidelines; guidelines are promoted to policies. New policies are added. I was just off looking for a way to show you a selection of reports to this desk of such changes. But you seem to be coming at this with a fairly fixed opinion. I'm not following the "no policy change in say 2 years". That may apply to IAR, for all I know, but not to the large body of policy. And I'm sire that people invoke or follow IAR every day. What makes you think they might not. Where, indeed, are you coming from? --Tagishsimon (talk) 19:39, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
If you search through the history of this page for contributions by "VeblenBot" you'll find regular announcements of changes to policy, such as [11] and [12] from the past few days. Check the histories and talk pages of individual policies to see what sorts of changes have been made beside the sort that VeblenBot reports here. Clearly, a lot of policy is by now fairly well hashed out, and so change for these policy areas is slow and/or on the margin. But there's abundant evidence of the evolution of policy; and contra-wide, nothing I can see to support your view that the cabal has ossified. --Tagishsimon (talk) 19:45, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
DePiep, I invoke IAR all the time. I just don't tell anyone. The point is not to break the rules or raise a fuss, but to improve Wikipedia articles. -- llywrch (talk) 04:05, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

(edit conflict)re Tagishsimon: Your final turn "What makes you think they might not. Where, indeed, are you coming from?" says that you want to make it personal. Not me. Is not what I asked (twice not, actually). Now you do not explain what triggered your tone of reaction, (I have no fixed idea, my Q's are open as you can read). And, reading what you wrote, you did not answer my Q. No one link available? -DePiep (talk) 19:54, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

WP:BLPPROD, for one. –xenotalk 19:58, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Good point, xeno. But then: WP:BLP (and copyright issues alike ) are outside directions that are imposed on WP. Like: Florida (US) laws. It saves the WP-project, but it does not illustrate how do our policies & guidelines evoluate internally. Check this: how & why should I embark on changing a guideline? -DePiep (talk) 20:16, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
How? By boldly editing it or initiating a discussion at the talk page. Why? Perhaps you find a particular guideline problematic? –xenotalk 20:24, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, hey, as if I'm new here. Just 'edit boldly' is not enough for guideline change, don't we know? So altogether, there is no examples of recent policy changes? Not even guideline changes maybe? I can read a background. (Sure I have a bad impression of an inconvenient thing and so, but that should not lead the response here. Might even get personal). -DePiep (talk) 20:38, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
[13]. –xenotalk 20:42, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
How on earth can you write, at 20:38 "So altogether, there is no examples of recent policy changes? Not even guideline changes maybe?". Do all the posts pointing at policy & guideline pages show up in an invisible font on your computer's screen? You're taking the piss. --Tagishsimon (talk) 20:51, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I misread your "So ... no policy change at all in say 2 years? Wow, that's a long time in internet 4th dimension" as being a derisory comment. I've explained to you how to look for policy changes; I think your question is answered. No, oddly, I cannot provide them all to you on a single page. So, yeah. No one link available. So kill me. --Tagishsimon (talk) 20:01, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I did not ask for a page of them. Neither for your personal view. Now if you misread my Q and conclude 'kill me', then do to yourself as you conclude yourself. For a misreading? What are you saying? -DePiep (talk) 20:21, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, there's [14]. Have you just suggested that another editor kill themself? Is there a particular reason for the hostility you are displaying in this thread? –xenotalk 20:24, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
As you can read, that editor brought it up themselves. I responded like: 'for misreading me? -- do it yourself'. -DePiep (talk) 20:29, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
WP:EVENT is newish, an attempt to square WP:GNG and WP:NOTNEWS. WP:BLPPROD was internally driven as a consequence of last year's BLP wars against unsourced articles instigated by Scott and some other admins. The Article Incubator is a new process in the last couple of years, though it's not lived up to its promise. People do invoke IAR, and I've done so on a handful of occasions, but you've got a have a good reason to ignore rules these days as they've mostly grown up over time to be what we need to have a decent encyclopedia. Xeno, Tagishsimon said "So kill me", he was the one personalising it. Less drama please people. Fences&Windows 20:30, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes - the colloquialism could have been omitted, as well as the hostile response. Tagishsimon appears to have been trying to understand and answer the question in good faith. –xenotalk 20:42, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanx F&W. I'll dive into that. -DePiep (talk) 20:41, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
WP:ATHLETE was completely changed into WP:NSPORTS during the past year. That was pretty major since it was something people wanted changed for a long time and was a big shift from the old way of every professional athlete is notable wording to having specific guidelines per sport. -DJSasso (talk) 20:43, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Child protection is new as well, but is a bit of special case. In general I see notability bars becoming higher ever so slowly. Yoenit (talk) 20:46, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

(All reactions are appreciated possibly without response. Worth investigating and more. -DePiep (talk) 21:13, 10 February 2011 (UTC))

Examples are legion. Off the top of my head, the sticky prod process was conceived, discussed and implemented. At WP:CSD: we added animals to A7, we added A10 as a new criterion, we excluded talk pages from G7, we clarified A1 and A3 that they should not be used for pages moments after creation... You say you came here with an impression—what is that impression based upon?--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:06, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
I did more or less re-write a policy about 18 months ago, I think, removing a lot of cruft. Bouyed by my success I moved to another policy and found I couldn't change a single word without invoking the legions of hell. So it is possible to change, we do change, we are not moribund, but removing or reducing is much harder than adding and complexifiying. Except sometimes. Rich Farmbrough, 05:51, 11 February 2011 (UTC).
That's my story too. (An attempt to add a single and blindingly obviously necessary word to a sentence in WP:NOR is currently in its third week of "discussion". And try actually removing anything, however redundant or false, and people act like you're ripping pages out of the Bible.) --Kotniski (talk) 10:17, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
My experience is very similar. I helped re-write most of WP:POLICY a while ago. WP:PROPOSAL is basically my creation. I've made major changes to WP:CONSENSUS. I've written or re-written substantial portions of WP:EL, WP:MEDMOS, and several other guidelines.
However, changing anything at WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:NPOV is especially difficult. In practice, changes made by 'outsiders' are reverted, and, since there are usually two of these privileged editors with opposite views for any particular change, even they don't get to make many changes.
This conservatism isn't all bad: Stability is desirable, and in a mature policy, and change is more likely to create a problem than to solve one. Changes that seem perfectly fine in one context might be horrible in another. We do need to think these things through, and to accept that "what my local newspaper says" (for example) is a great source for local politics, but it's a lousy source for, say, information about how nuclear bombs work. If you have been writing about local politicians and you "fix" the policy to favor this type of source (or to disfavor it, if you've been writing about nuclear explosions), you may not realize how your "fix" actually breaks the policy for other subjects. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:27, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
There's one big fat elephant in the room that has proven terribly resistant to even the smallest of changes, but other policies are tweaked or slightly modified all the time. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:23, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh, it certainly changes - RFA is a classic example of something that has "drifted" in practice in terms of what it requires. It's just resistant to intentional change... Shimgray | talk | 11:26, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
In general, policies should not undergo frequent, significant changes. Besides stability issues, policy is supposed to be descriptive of established practice. If policies are constantly being changed, it's unlikely that practice is also changing frequently and it would be an indication that the policies are becoming more legislative than descriptive. This is also why addition is easier than removal; it's a lot easier to get people to start doing something than it is to get them to stop. Mr.Z-man 22:31, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
There is that way of looking at it; but there's another way as well - policy is supposed to be descriptive of established practice, but sometimes it isn't (or at least fails to describe that practice as clearly as it might, just as a Wikipedia article sometimes fails to describe its subject as clearly or as accurately as it might, and is then naturally improved by editing). Some people seem to think that policy pages are written with such perfection that any change to the wording must entail a change of practice - not so, as it often simply brings the policy more in line with what we know to be the practice, or (usually) just makes the page describe the practice more clearly or concisely. (There is often a conflict between those who would use policies and their precise wording as "laws" - as weapons in cases of disagreement - and those of us who see them principally as something to aid new and old editors' understanding of how we do things around here.)--Kotniski (talk) 12:35, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
The problem is, if policies only "describe" practice, then how is appropriate practice determined? I have to say, just by chance while commenting here, I ran across two policies that had been extensively rewritten by User:FT2 (see below), in ways that I don't agree with. Now I've heard this claim about "describing practice", especially in regard to ArbCom, but if it's true, then we have to recognize that Wikipedia is no longer run by consensus, but that all policy is determined solely by who you vote for in the ArbCom election. Which means we need political parties, political action groups, campaign ads, and so on. I think that Wikipedia has done better than this in the past. Wnt (talk) 02:07, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Don't understand how policy is determined "solely by who you vote for" - the composition of ArbCom affects only a very tiny proportion of editors and articles to which its judgments happen to relate. Personally I'd like to see the term "policy" discarded (except for actual policies formally adopted by the Foundation), as it seems only to confuse.--Kotniski (talk) 11:34, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that some people on ArbCom seem to believe that policy exists to "codify existing practice" - to describe what they do rather than to direct what they do. I've commented elsewhere on their plan to rewrite the policies about what they can do to give them greater executive powers. And it appears that at least one ArbCom member has had great influence in rewriting at least two policies. I believe we are seeing a consolidation of power which may be useful to the careers of individual ArbCom members but which is damaging to the Wikipedia community as a whole. Wnt (talk) 19:32, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I hope that ArbCom do see written policy as descriptive rather than prescriptive - we don't have any mechanism for democractic law-making (or if we do, it's very rarely invoked as policy pages are edited), so all we can do is observe what the community tends to accept and try to document it by way of useful guidance.--Kotniski (talk) 20:31, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Articles about criminal hoaxes

I came across the article November 14 2005 Brisbane bomb hoax which raised several ethical questions. This particular article probably fails notability under WP:EFFECT and I may prod it later but I was curious in general if there are policies or essays regarding articles about when and when not to have articles on events caused by criminal hoaxers. In some sense, the article itself is a monument to their hoax and could be seen as a reward by those mentalities that are attracted to such activities as bomb scares or arson. Jason Quinn (talk) 22:35, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Ethical? Pft. If it's notable it's notable, if not, then not. This one was probably not (As you said, WP:EFFECT probably applies). ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 23:09, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't see WP:EFFECT as a means to demonstrate lack of notability, but the lack of sources for the article makes it vulnerable in any case. As for the ethics, I think that every schoolchild knows of the idea of calling in a bomb hoax to disrupt activities - the effect is probably about the same whether you disrupt a school vs. a busing system. I can think of far more damaging sabotage than this that could be done without money or special skills. Wnt (talk) 23:31, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
The ethical contention is not that the article spreads the idea of bomb hoaxes but that an article itself could be a motive to do such a hoaxes. When "notability" itself can be viewed by aberrant individuals as reword for their behavior, it is an ethical concern. The same concept applies to articles on arson. It is a well-known psychological fact that these types of acts are often done by low self-esteem individuals who find gratification in seeing the aftermath of their deeds. Serial killers often take mementos from their victims to remind them of the killing. Seeing evidence of what they have done makes these individuals feel important. An article could be viewed as such a thing. Clearly, major events that caused significant disruption or affected major change to some community ought to have articles but smaller events ought not have them. Typically at Wikipedia, if you slap a few references on the article, it is deemed notable. In these cases, notability ought to be more stringently observed by paying more attention to the sources and using common sense in general to deem notability or not.
I have a very hard time believing that Wikipedia outweighs such factors as seeing thousands of commuters inconvenienced, seeing the local papers cover the hoax, and of course, thinking about how you're going to look in the orange jumpsuit (not to mention the civil suit...). Wnt (talk) 05:14, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
In terms of the article's notability, yes, not having WP:EFFECT does not prove non-notabilty but lacking other obvious reasons for notability and also not having WP:EFFECT seems to be a reasonable argument the article should be deleted. Jason Quinn (talk) 01:24, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Thanks for pointing out that article. I have gone ahead and added sources to it. SilverserenC 02:02, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. However, a bunch of sources doesn't qualify the article as notable. Jason Quinn (talk) 16:01, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
WP:Notability. Taemyr (talk) 16:20, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Notability (events). Jason Quinn (talk) 16:33, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Wow. This guideline was rewritten by FT2 in March to make it completely unreasonable - it no longer adds to the general notability guideline, but takes away from it.[15] This is the second guideline I've run across in the past few days that was rewritten by FT2 in a way that I strongly disagree with -- see Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#talk_page_attribution_question above. Wnt (talk) 21:40, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Regardless, of that. My point is that while true that notability requires verifiable evidence, verifiable evidence does not imply notability. This article does not pass (and should not pass) notability in my estimation. If so, pretty much every minor crime with few local papers to cover it would qualify, which is something that is obviously not desired. The only thing this article does is give the perpetrator of a crime a minor claim to fame. Jason Quinn (talk) 19:41, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
"it no longer adds to the general notability guideline, but takes away from it." Wnt, what do you mean by this? WP:EFFECT tries to reconcile WP:GNG with WP:NOTNEWS, it has always been stricter than WP:GNG. How has that changed?
As for that Brisbane bomb hoax article, it fails the principles of WP:EFFECT, WP:GEOSCOPE, WP:INDEPTH, WP:CONTINUEDCOVERAGE, and WP:DIVERSE - it has no coverage post 2006 and no mention at all at Google Books. It's almost certainly not a notable event, it even reads like a news story. We do have an article Bomb threat which is a pretty shoddy stub and could do with some work. Fences&Windows 23:59, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
My miserable effort in December 2009 at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/2005 Indonesian embassy bioterrorism hoax might inform this debate for how such deletion debates turn out in practice. Fences&Windows 00:02, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Link colours

I have a question guys..recently at Template talk:Infobox Historic Site#Red links i have made mention of the using of red font for link colours. I am pointing to Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates#Navigation templates as our rule of thumd to not use red links for articles that have a name space. However it has been pointed out that at Wikipedia:Link color we actually show editors how to use red front. Is this not s bit confusing. Are red links ok or not? And if not should we not make a note at Wikipedia:Link color that red and for that matter a certain blue is reserved. As mentioned before in the past user-functionality should outweigh aesthetics in all cases. There is no edit wars- just has come to my attention that this is not clear. Moxy (talk) 17:31, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Why in the world would we want to make certain specific links different colors for everyone? Never mind that some people have userscripts that change links all sorts of different colors based on whether the target is a redirect, is a disambiguation page, is a stub, is nominated for deletion, has pending changes that need review, and so on. Anomie 18:14, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
ok so lets add to Wikipedia:Link color -something like. " Links should be blue; dead links should be red. Red or Black font should not be used for linking exciting articles." And we should replace the color examples with green or brown or something. Moxy (talk) 20:28, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
The specific colors for everyone in {{Infobox Historic Site}} (for a list of them all, see Template:Designation/doc#Supported designations) are used to distinguish between certain designations (e.g. New York City Landmarks or Listed buildings in the United Kingdom). Precedents for this kind of thing include the use of colored bars to distinguish between US National Park Service designations in {{Infobox NRHP}} and IUCN designations in {{Infobox protected area}}. Neither of these infoboxes, however, uses colored links, but they do use colored bars.
The controversy about the Historic Sites infobox is that the infobox allows for not only a background/bar color but a text color as well, which for several designations has been chosen to be red. In most or all of the designations, the red color ties back into a flag or state symbol of some kind (i.e. the bar for Monument historique, displayed as  | colspan=2 align=center style="border:4px solid #A8BDEC;"|Monument historique , matches the colors for the Flag of France).
Possible solutions to this problem include
  • Leaving the system as is, allowing for red links
  • Changing the links with red text to some other color, or
  • Removing the links and just leaving colored text.
I personally prefer the first of the three options, but if consensus is against me, I could implement the second one. The third one is the least desirable of them all, so hopefully we can reach some sort of agreement here.--Dudemanfellabra (talk) 23:01, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
A better system should be implemented. This is a great example of an un-user friendly format chosen for aesthetic over functionality - A new person to Wikipedia or the internet for that matter would never think  | colspan=2 align=center style="border:4px solid #FFE978;"|New York City Landmark  is a link.Moxy (talk) 23:30, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Please tell me we're not using things like  | colspan=2 align=center style="border:4px solid #A8BDEC;"|Monument historique  in articles? That's terrible. My eyesight is pretty good, and even I have trouble reading that. According to this tool, those colors have a contrast ratio of 1.93 (on a range of 1–21). Regular text should be at least 4.5 to meet accessibility guidelines for people with poor vision. Mr.Z-man 00:09, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
There are probably very specialized cases where red text links can legitimately be used - for example, if you have a bitmap showing stars in the vicinity of Earth with different color links for each type of star. (Though that most likely would be done entirely as a graphics image) I would not want to see red links ruled out by the software. But the "monument historique" thing just doesn't cut it. I wouldn't even try to mouseover something like that, and it's scarcely readable. Wnt (talk) 02:00, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree that there are a few in which the contrast rating fails. Actually, the documentation of the Designation template says that accessibility should be considered first, though I admit this guideline is rarely, if ever, followed. There are other designations, i.e  | colspan=2 align=center style="border:4px solid #FFC0CB;"|National Treasure of Japan , that don't fail contrast tests and still have red-colored links. There is also the New York City Landmark designation that Moxy pointed out above with a white link.
I think everyone here agrees that the ones that fail the contrast test should be changed, but that is not the point of this inquiry; I guess I brought up a bad example the first time haha. Should those like Japan's or NYC's be kept since they adhere to accessibility guidelines, or should they be scrapped in favor of regular blue links?--Dudemanfellabra (talk) 03:44, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
My feeling is that even the better looking links aren't clearly identifiable as links, so if they point somewhere useful, they should be changed. Decorative text in an infobox (even if it is red or blue) should be alright, as long as it doesn't look exactly like a standard link and isn't being relied on to get the reader to a resource. It might even be tolerable for such decorative text to be used as a link, provided that it is redundant to another link close by in the same infobox, but I think it's best not to. Wnt (talk) 19:18, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it is important for links to actually look like links. In general, this means that all links should look the same (e.g., all functional links are blue, all missing pages are red). Some other method will have to be found for decorating pages and templates. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:37, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Pending changes: Keep, limit, or reject?

The time for vagueness is over, I strongly feel we need some clear guides as to how this is to be used. See Wikipedia:Pending changes/Request for Comment February 2011. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:54, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Merger of segments on policy page

See Wikipedia_talk:What_Wikipedia_is_not#Proposal_to_merge_two_subsections where I am proposing the merger of WP:NOTDIR and WP:IINFO. The overlap is large, so why not have a shorter stronger section and easier navigability? Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:14, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Vandalism as school assignment

Through wikisignpost's twitter feed, i read this blogpost:

my daughter (a sophomore in high school) was given an assignment to introduce errors into Wikipedia. Presumably, the intention was to demonstrate that entries could be 'unreliable'. Now, she chose a popular page, and had her changes corrected almost straightaway, to the extent that it was not possible to complete the assignment as given. In fact, she ended up being barred from editing pages as her behavior was seen as unacceptable.

My doubt is do we have a policy to deal with otherwise respectable institutions like schools disrupting wikipedia?. (stern warning, blanket block etc?)--Sodabottle (talk) 09:57, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:School and university projects/Instructions for teachers and lecturers
Wikipedia:School and university projects/Instructions for students.
Although not intended for the sort of project given above. The relevant policies would be our treatment of meatpuppets, so warning and then rangeblocks. Taemyr (talk) 10:22, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Taemyr--Sodabottle (talk) 10:35, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
The fact that the assignment backfired brings a smile to my face. Can we identify the school in question? Yoenit (talk) 10:42, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Seems too close to WP:OUTING for my liking. An off Wiki, private email discussion with him may be a better approach. - X201 (talk) 11:02, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Outing deals with individuals. This is a school, not an individual. A school which has no grasp whatsoever of ethics. I don't see a problem in identifying and taking to task such a place. --Tagishsimon (talk) 11:08, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I was thinking of the possibility of indirectly outing his daughter. I agree that the teacher who set the task is a muppet that needs the error of their ways gently pointing out to them (or 10 years hard labour on the Recent Changes list) - X201 (talk) 11:13, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
The blog post all but identifies the person as being Lorcan Dempsey's daughter. I doubt we'd get any nearer than that. --Tagishsimon (talk) 11:15, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I ran into a similar problem at Digital divide-4 editors suddenly appeared adding large, sourced sections to the article. Now, that's generally a good thing, except for the fact that a lot of what they added also contained original research, or was misorganized, or duplicated the same concept as elsewhere in the article, or...So, hey, these are all teachable moments. The odd thing, of course, was that this happened all at once. After asking for a while, I got one of the students to admit that this was a class assignment. I asked for the Wikipedia username of the students teacher so that I could talk to her, or for her to talk to me, and the student said that the teacher doesn't have a username, and doesn't really edit Wikipedia. That was really disappointing, especially since we're putting a lot of effort into the Class/Online Ambassador program specifically to make this happen well. There's nothing wrong with a teacher encouraging students to edit Wikipedia, but it was disturbing that she had done so without even knowing anything about how we work, what our policies are, and good editing behavior. I kind-of wonder what happened, since one of the students had about 90% of xyr work stripped out by me (pulling out the OR and NPOV points), while other editors points remained (because they were closer to sources, thus more compatible with our ethos). Not sure where I'm going with this, but its a weird place to have teachers asking students to get more involved but not giving the tools to do so...or, as in the OP's situation, to deliberately disrupt what we do. Qwyrxian (talk) 11:18, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Incidently, if someone tracks down the teacher in question; a better way to teach the lesson that we are not always totaly reliable would be to put the pupils up on RCP. Taemyr (talk) 12:38, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
The teacher with the vandalism assignment needs to be spanked. The students are blameless in that; it's hard enough to figure out the ethics of editing and vandalism, let alone for a child, being urged improperly by an authority figure. But teachers who encourage kids to add sections are doing a good thing, even if it means dealing with errors and OR. There will always be that with new editors, and kids, and if that bothered us enough to give them up, we would have a policy against their joining Wikipedia. Wnt (talk) 18:03, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Got something which seems related [16]. I was pretty close to catching the original vandalism edit on wp:HUGGLE, but unfortunately just missed it. Yoenit (talk) 22:29, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Wnt, that is indeed one extremely irresponsible teacher. Was his next assignment to order the kids to go to the library and steal books, in order for them to learn that they can't trust it to have exactly the books they need? --Saddhiyama (talk) 10:08, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • "Respectable" and "school" are not two words that go together on Wikipedia. School-IPs are almost automatically vandals. HalfShadow 21:31, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Research into how Wikipedia works is necessary and should be welcomed. Aquib (talk) 13:13, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Even when the "research" is conducted by 14 year olds, with no plan to share their "discoveries" with anyone? Even when the "research" is badly designed, poorly conducted, uncontrolled, and utterly redundant? Even when the "research" has not followed, or even apparently considered, basic research ethics?
We welcome work conducted by competent researchers—there has been a lot of it done—but this vandalism project is not an example of competently conducted research. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:05, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

FWIW, see also this 20 April 2007 AN/I I raised about a professor's "demonstration" vandalism for class. -- JHunterJ (talk) 17:09, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Attributing Wikipedia

I looked up Wikipedia:Attribution but it's about attributing other content within Wikipedia. Is there a guide to the citation required?

CC-by-sa (human readable version) says "You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work)." Where is this specified? Someone I spoke with from another wiki said that the Wikipedia requirement was to be attributed with a link, therefore a link in the "External links" section on their page is adequate. I suspect that's wrong, but where can I point them for correct info? Thanks. --Chriswaterguy talk 02:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

WP:Reusing Wikipedia content. Also, despite being official, the human-readable summary is surprisingly inaccurate about attribution when compared with the text of the relevant part of the legalese, which is Section 4(c). --Cybercobra (talk) 02:53, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. That page says: To re-distribute a text page in any form, provide credit to the authors either by including a) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the page or pages you are re-using...
So, it looks like someone can just copy a whole Wikipedia page, add a link to the WP article in the "External links" section without explicitly attributing WP, and that satisfies the requirement as described at WP:Reusing Wikipedia content. The legalese does indeed seem different, though my eyes glazed over long before I'd read it all. This looks like a problem - if it's something that concerns the Wikipedia community, WP:Reusing Wikipedia content#Re-use of text under Creative Commons Attribute Share-Alike needs to be reworded. --Chriswaterguy talk 01:18, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
That section is taken directly from wmf:Terms of Use#Information for re-users. I see how the text can be interpreted in the way you describe, but an undistinguished link seems insufficient. WP:Village pump (miscellaneous)/Archive 30#WP site rip-off not attributing is another recent discussion. WP:Mirrors and forks has a list of reusers. Flatscan (talk) 05:19, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Conflict between guidelines

WP:DEADLINK and WP:DEADREF give conflicting advice about dealing with dead links used to support article content. Please join the conversation at WT:CITE to help us decide how to resolve the conflicting advice in our guidelines. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:17, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Notability for video games

Input is needed for WP:Notability (video games) as the WikiProject Video games is trying to streamline their guideline and items off of it that really wouldn't be appropriate for a MOS-style guideline (its not one atm, but its been proposed to be moved to one by others). The notability of video games has been contentious and the GNG doesn't really give enough advice when dealing with some specific circumstances surrounding video games.Jinnai 20:33, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Your post contains three links, but I don't see any discussion. Can you point a link at the discussion? SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Check the archives atWT:VG. They are scattered around. There is also some info on the current video game guideline which I used as part of the basis for this notability guideline. There was some discussion at User talk:Jinnai/VGGL about the proposed changes being too unweildy for a MOS-type guideline, so this is why I updated (it had already been created, but abandoned) WP:Notability (video games).Jinnai 20:41, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Hmmmm, I like the proposal, but I'm not sure where to comment or post. Does somebody want to just start a new, centralized discussion at Wikipedia talk:Notability (video games) to make it easier for people to join in?AerobicFox (talk) 20:56, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Advertising through gadgets

I don't think the community has consented to advertising through different gadgets, like the mwembed by Kaltura (see bugzilla:23965) or the link to the Georgia Tech school provided in the ProveIt referencing tool (see Special:Preferences and the link: [17]). This seems like contrary to WP:SPAM to me: "Adding external links to an article or user page for the purpose of promoting a website or a product is not allowed, and is considered to be spam." What do you think? --Eleassar my talk 17:15, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

What about the book project. That's one big ad. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 17:32, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
It seems to be. Well, if these things are tolerated or even supported, this has to be mentioned somewhere. --Eleassar my talk 18:34, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think an optional user-enabled gadget is comparable to deliberately adding links to article text. What exactly is ProveIt advertising? Shimgray | talk | 19:47, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Eleassar, I notice you have multiple external links to non-wikimedia hosted tools on your user page. Some unrelated to Wikipedia, even. Are these not advertising/spam in the same way? The spirit of the policy is in the word promotion, which could mean "raise the profile of" but really is intended to mean commercial (or other) gain. ProveIt is a useful Wikipedia tool, the website is non-commercial and includes help/reference and credits. Seems a reasonable external link, not one provided with the express purpose of spam. --Errant (chat!) 21:53, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Your're right. However, the phrasing provided above does not say what you do and should be rectified. Or the links should be removed. --Eleassar my talk 22:38, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
What needs to be rectified? Reach Out to the Truth 04:53, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
"Adding external links to an article or user page for the purpose of promoting a website or a product is not allowed, and is considered to be spam." --Eleassar my talk 17:09, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia links to many third-party tools, and it seems an acceptable quid pro quo in many cases that the tool is mentioned by name. Placing Kaltura links in videos on article pages, however, does seem beyond the pale --- nonetheless, it seems like the Foundation is behind this, as part of an plan to create an open video editing standard. Wnt (talk) 17:00, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Microsoft Word as reference/external link

Hello I just stumbled upon a reference in microsoft word. I clicked on it just like anything else and was expecting a webpage to come up. Imagine my horror and confusion when a Word document opened. I removed it in this diff. [18]

I searched but couldn't find anything - would it ever be acceptable to have a link/reference in Word? If not, can a bot remove all occurrences?

Thank you. --CutOffTies (talk) 14:32, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

I think the reference should be restored and a comment added that it is in word. It is a pity Wikipedia hasn't added a special icon or marker saying it isn't html. Dmcq (talk) 14:38, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
The reference should be restored? How is that document a reliable source? I'm having a difficult time thinking of when a Word document could ever be a reliable source. Certainly an academic article or something from the media could be in word format, but that seems extremely rare. Also, I would think that the risk of malicious code is greater than other formats (webpages, pdfs). Finally there's an accessibility issue as well. --CutOffTies (talk) 14:43, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Your question was about the format of the document not about whether it was a reliable source. For questions about whether a source is reliable see WP:RSN. Dmcq (talk) 15:34, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
By the way I would consider the format irrelevant. It is who wrote the document and where it is published ad have other people referred to it for instnce that would count with me. Dmcq (talk) 15:38, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
In my view the policy should be to use the most widely accessible format that is available. HTML is better than PDF. PDF if better than Word. Word is better than nothing when nothing else is available. These days, most people can read Word format free of charge using either some variant of OpenOffice, Google Docs, Microsoft Word Viewer or something else. It is certainly not a web friendly format and having to view the document in some external application is cumbersome, but at least it is readable. Of course, even when nothing at all is available online even that doesn't invalidate the reference. Links are not essential. They are just for convenience.
I would advocate something slightly different for "External links" entries. These should be to websites, not documents, so Word and PDF format is inappropriate there. Documents, in whatever format, can go in a "Further reading" section if they are not actually being used as references.
In this case, the reference that was removed has no obvious RS status and should not be restored unless some is demonstrated but if it had been good in all other respects then being in Word should not have prevented it being used.--DanielRigal (talk) 16:50, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
The format is (1) absolutely irrelevant to the question of whether the contents are reliable and (2) should be labeled whenever it is anything other than HTML. Whether a source is reliable does not depend on the file format chosen by the publisher. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:20, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

In response to the icon question: see Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 81#External link icons proposal and User:Gadget850/ExternalLinkIcons. -— Gadget850 (Ed) talk —Preceding undated comment added 18:22, 19 February 2011 (UTC).

Thanks. I would personally prefer something that added labels rather than icons, e.g., (Microsoft Word document) instead of a picture. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:20, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I've restored the reference using the {{cite web}} template, specifying the format = Word, as per the template instructions. Now, whether it's a good ref, I'll leave to others. - Denimadept (talk) 00:08, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I absolutely agree any MS Office documents should at least be clearly labelled, and ideally not be one-click openable. Whether other Office formats are as problem-full I don't know, I am aware that there was a hacked video format from Intel and a privacy exploit for pdfs. I suggest to CutOffTies that removing Microsoft Office form your computer will remove those MS specific risks. Rich Farmbrough, 10:43, 20 February 2011 (UTC).

Proposal to change rules 3 and 4 of AWB slightly

I have started a discussion at Wikipedia talk:AutoWikiBrowser#Recommendation to reword some of the rules suggesting to clarify the rules of use for AWB. Any comments suggestions and input are requested. --Kumioko (talk) 14:37, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Userboxes/icons and neutrality

The recent closing of a move proposal has prompted a question in my mind and I'm interested to see others' views. Many users (incl. admins) have identification icons displayed on their user pages declaring religious, political,or national affiliations, and interests, hobbies, skills etc. What came up was a question over whether someone with a particular religious icon should be closing and making a determination on a particularly emotionally charged ethical subject. I took the view that anyone (and this particularly applies to admins) making a decision on behalf of the community (as opposed to simply editing) should be seen to be neutral as well as actually being neutral, and it was a question of natural justice that no one should be a 'judge in his own cause' (or, at least, a cause closely associated with one of his 'icons'). Many disagreed (some angrily [wrongly] believing it was a breach of WP:NPA) with this, the main contrary points being either it's effectively an 'ad hominem' attack or someone with a particular icon can't automatically be labeled as not neutral or these people have publicly declared their position which is better than concealing it. For me, though, I still think that it prejudices at least the appearance of neutrality. It also concerns me that it may indicate a particularly fervent belief in X which could be inconsistent with neutrality i.e it's one thing to believe/be affiliated with X, it's quite another to want to tell everyone about it. Just to be clear, I'm only talking about the most controversial and highly-charged issues where admin. decisions are being taken (not general editing). So, should these issues be allowed to be brought up/taken into account in determining who should make such decisions?. Oh, and I'm not talking about the case that prompted this - I'm raising it as a general issue for consideration DeCausa (talk) 15:15, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

No... we assume good faith on Wikipedia. Your proposal assumes bad faith. Blueboar (talk) 17:07, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
That's not really an answer, is it. Firstly, good faith isn't assumed in all circumstances (track record, WP:COI etc), so it's not so entirely sacrosanct as to squash all possibilty of discussion. Secondly, it's not necessarily about assuming bad faith, it's also about neutrality "being seen to be done" - rather similar to WP:COI in fact. Thirdly, it's not about good or bad faith. No one is really entirely neutral: everyone has inbuilt prejudices and views brought about by their experiences. A lot of the time one does not even recognise them in oneself. I'm positing that someone with a fervent belief in cause X may be swayed more than most - however unknowingly - by that belief. Fourthly, whilst WP:AGF is the oil which makes Wikipedia work (more or less) in the edit process, should it have the same role in an admin decision-making scenarion? (emphasis on the question mark - it's not a statement) DeCausa (talk) 18:09, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Hi DeCausa, I think your proposal has some merit, however I disagree in some aspects. I'm unclear whether you are singling out religions - in your second sentence you mention religious, political, or national affiliations, but from there you just mention religious beliefs. I think any change in guidance to admins should be in regard to all beliefs, not just religious. Also, I think if a policy change is required, it should be in terms of indicating that admins who clearly have very strong beliefs on a subject should consider whether they can act in a manner that will be perceived as neutral. PhilKnight (talk) 18:32, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Hi, actually I was referring to "beliefs", meaning political beliefs as well as religious. DeCausa (talk) 18:47, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying. PhilKnight (talk) 18:52, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm strongly opposing this. Even the suggestion that someone is acting in a bias manner because of their religious or other beliefs is against the spirit of WP:AGF. There is no reason a Christian editor(which makes up a huge percent of editors on Wikipedia) should have their motives questioned on Christianity-related pages simply for being Christian(or any other belief). If you disagree with someone's actions then challenge the action, cite policy against the action but do not challenge the user in place of that.AerobicFox (talk) 19:31, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Out of interest, why do you mention only religious views and not ploitical ones as well? DeCausa (talk) 20:38, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Why are you proposing a policy that promotes questioning other users motives in place of responding to their arguments?AerobicFox (talk) 21:42, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Do you always answer a question with a question? ...But seriously, I think I answered that in the four points I made in response to Blue Boar above. I'm happy to clarify any of the points if you would like me to. Also, it's not really about "responding to their arguments". That sounds like your thinking of issues in editing or responding in a debate or discussion. That's not what I'm talking about - I think motivation is still off limits there. What I'm referring to is specifically decision-making, as in an admin. closing a proposal. I think it's a crucial difference. Now, how about my question? DeCausa (talk) 10:02, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
In what way does "religious or other beliefs" not include political beliefs?
"Do you always answer a question with a question?"
Socratic questioningAerobicFox (talk) 23:57, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Does that mean I am your student and you are my teacher? DeCausa (talk) 00:14, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Administrators are not moderators. They must close discussions taking into account the consensus, not their own opinion of what should be done (which may be welcomed, but discussing it as editors like any other). If an admin closes a discussion with a result againt the consensus achieved (which may or may not be the result of his own bias), then that's something that would merit being reported. The fact itself of having a bias, not. MBelgrano (talk) 20:11, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

With respect, that's a slight over-simplification of what happens in practice. It's not a vote; consensus in controversial narrowly fought issues is not necessarily obvious. A lot of it is to do with evaluating the types of arguments contributors put forward. I'd say in controversial topics it's more of an art than science. Plenty of scope, in other words, sometimes to come up with two opposite but equally 'valid' decisions. DeCausa (talk) 20:45, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think this is going to work. Limiting it to politics and religion singles out those two areas as being significant problems, which I don't think reflects our reality. Wikipedia has as many problems with holy wars over programming languages and computer OS choices as it does over political parties. If you apply it broadly, we run into all sorts of problems: if the question is about the Father's rights movement, should the closing admin be required to be male or female? A parent or a non-parent? A divorced, married, or never-married person? Similarly, some users have significant attachments to their home country, and many advertise their locations, but should we ban them from closing discussions related to that country? That would often put us in the awkward position of searching for someone who knows much less about the subject and the people involved.
I think we're going to have to trust our admin corps to make reasonable choices here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:44, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think clashes over computing programs are comparable to the religious/ethical/political/nationalist clashes on Wikipedia. You have to separate what a small clique feels pasionately about and real "real world" conflict. No one's starting shooting wars over Windows (yet). Taking the argument ad absurdam doesn't really work. What I've said is that it's limited to the display of religious/political/national icons in the context of really controversial issues i.e. the individual has made the choice to advertise the intensity of their feelings - it's not about positively selecting the "right" admin for any particular issue.
As an aside, I have a sense that there may be a cultural difference between the two sides of the Atlantic on this. I think that possibly there is slightly more sympathy with what I'm saying from the European side. DeCausa (talk) 23:16, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
"I don't think clashes over computing programs are comparable to the religious/ethical/political/nationalist clashes on Wikipedia." You might be surprised...see Talk:Linux/Name for one example. I have at times seen computing-related deletion and move discussions closed in odd or questionable ways (sometimes later being challenged or overturned, other times not). Back to your original points... This is a tricky subject, and there is another side to the coin which I've seen up close and personal.

Most editors (admins are editors too) tend to work in subject areas in which they are already familiar. While it does require care, editing or making decisions in a subject area with which one is familiar does not mean the editor/admin has a conflict of interest or cannot maintain a neutral point of view. To quote part of something I wrote months back: "...nor would it be a conflict of interest for me to write about MediaWiki or Wikipedia because I've contributed here."

This is something I've become quite vocal about due to a past conflict with a now indef'd editor, and while this was probably an extreme case, it does show another area in which Wikipedia desperately needs improvement. To sum up an otherwise massive story, this particular editor took joy in actually following me from article to article (as well as categories, templates, etc) in order to make false accusations that I was violating NPOV, COI, [insert guideline/policy here], etc. (I later discovered that this individual had done the same sort of things to many other editors, in a serial-type fashion moving from editor to editor, most of whom eventually stopped editing and left Wikipedia completely.) In my case, this individual targeted me both on and off-wiki for roughly 18 months before they were indef'd on Wikipedia for making personal attacks towards me.

From what I've witnessed and experienced, I think a much larger issue which might be better to consider and address is a general lack of accountability. While everyone makes a mistake once in awhile (no one is perfect), by in large editors are not held accountable for their actions when it comes to things such as bad AfD nominations, questionable page moves, etc. I can't count the number of times I've seen computing and technology related articles which covered subjects which would have been familiar to readers who were familiar with larger computing/technology subtopics that were sent to AfD without the nom doing any research first. I've also seen this from AfD participants. Basically, "Delete: I've never heard of it, so it can't be notable, Wikipedia doesn't need an article on this".

I also can't help but wonder how much Wikipedia was set back in terms of growth and improvement by the individual I mentioned above who took joy in attacking other editors. Because nearly all the editors this individual targeted eventually just gave up (I refused to give up, which cost me in other ways), we lost contributors who would have otherwise improved existing articles or created new content. How much did we lose simply because this individual was not held accountable for their actions earlier on? I really feel that a lack of accountability might actually be more the core issue with some of what you are trying to address above. --Tothwolf (talk) 05:14, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

That is a very interesting point. I can probably sum up most of the responses to my suggestion by saying that we should look at what the individual has actually done rather than their userboxes. But as you say, that only really happens in pactice when the actions become extreme or when its "too late". I'll need to think about this. Thanks. DeCausa (talk) 10:47, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
  • While not an admin, I'd certainly avoid closing discussions near-and-dear to my heart. Oddly for me that would probably be boardgames, RPGs, and computer science/engineering topics rather than my religious or political beliefs (which are fairly strong). I think it's more than fair to document somewhere, if we already haven't, that admins should be careful closing discussions in areas that are near-and-dear to them and should considering letting someone else close them. Hobit (talk) 04:58, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Does anyone remember the userbox wars? -- Donald Albury 10:39, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, I wasn't aware of this. So, the current position is a compromise. It maybe explains to me why some editors have got hotter under the collar about this than I expected. I think this is an interesting page: Wikipedia:Jimbo on Userboxes. Obviously it's about the pre-compromise situation, but some of the themes in it are not a million miles away from what I've been saying. DeCausa (talk) 11:42, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Here's the problem. It is reasonable to suggest that someone carrying a belief/position usebox has a view or an opinion in that area. It is less reasonable, but understandable, to suggest that this influences their decision making process in closing discussions. BUT what about the myriad of people without a userbox, they might have even stronger views in that area - and, so, their close is potentially even more strongly influenced! Bottom line is we cannot second guess anyone's motives. The only way we can judge someone here is on their actions; so you look at that close and see if it is in line with consensus (after all, an closers only aim is to judge consensus, not make an opinion). If it is not then questioning their motives and beliefs is not the right process; that they may or may not exist is irrelevant. We question their approach to the process of closing a discussion and perhaps stop them from interacting in those areas if it becomes habit to try to bypass consensus. But the thing is; people hold opinions about everything - mostly we are pretty good at avoiding influence from them, so it is good faith to assume we are doing so. FWIW I carry a userbox noting my personal "beliefs" with a link to a page explaining perhaps my strongest bias, and why I try to avoid interacting in those areas. --Errant (chat!) 12:06, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

I don't disgree with much of what you say. Except why is it so unreasonable "to suggest that this influences their decision making process", or at least can give the appearance that it does. Looking at the "real world", there are a number of situations where this principle is adopted. For example, in Europe (but not the US of course - which is an intesting cultural difference) it is usually unthinkable for judges to indicate their political views and it's thought (generally) ill-advised for politicians to publicise their religious views - for exactly these reasons. Of course, an admin closure, as is so often said, is not a court (or a political forum), but it illustrates the concern I have can't be so out of left field. Two other points: (i) as I've said earlier, determining consensus in a highly controversial topic is not necessarily as clear-cut or as obvious as you seem to indicate (ii)"what about the myriad of people without a userbox" - of course. But why does that stop us reducing the risk as much as possible. Also, I think a userbox can be an indication of degree of fervour (depending on the cultural background of a User). DeCausa (talk) 12:26, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Because that is commenting on the editors motives, and not their actions. If you notice that their close is not quite (or against) consensus, then yes it is possibly to do with their opinions. But even in that scenario it is not necessary to raise that as a motivation (it could still simply have been a mistake). Instead you raise questions over the actions, rather than the motive. I think this is the basis of [{WP:CIVIL]], where we prescribe commenting on the content (in this case the act of closing a discussion) rather than the editor (in this case, their motives). Of course; if such a thing is a common occurrence, for one editor that becomes another matter (to discuss sensitively). But a blanket assumption that those with declared opinions are not suitable for closures in those areas of opinion is problematic to me. :) I also disagree that having a box is a good indication of the strength of conviction, this is just too much of an assumption for me to accept w/o some form of empirical data. In principle; I see your point. In practice I don't think it would be beneficial or fix any issues. --Errant (chat!) 13:21, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I've been thinking just now what DeCausa must think of me. If my userboxes indicate subjects I'm passionate about, then my views on Microsoft Windows, tobacco smoke, daylight savings time, and television are far more important to me than my views on politics, religion, ethics, and society. What a warped view of me that must give him. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:25, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I would say that your Userboxes (a) tell me nothing of relevance about you and (b) therefore you would be ideal to close a discussion :-) DeCausa (talk) 17:35, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a question of racial profiling (or religious profiling) brought to Wikipedia. As with the question in real life, I would say, that you can't expect people thinking about whether a close was fair to completely ignore the editor's known background and biases. Some people will be looked at harder, because we are all independent people and nobody can tell us where to look. But you also can't expect the editor to act differently, nor treat him differently from other people. To make an analogy, we can't tell a police officer not to take a close look out of his car window at someone who seems out of place to him - but we can tell him not to pull people over for "driving while black". So I certainly would not tell people that they shouldn't edit or close discussions based on their religion - provided that it is possible for them to do so according to Wikipedia policy consensus rather than personal conviction. Wnt (talk) 20:53, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that is a terrible analogy. In the UK it is a convention that judges do not express their political views so as to avoid any appearance of lack of neutrality i.e. similar argument that I'm putting forward hear. I have never heard anyone say that's akin to 'racial profiling'!!! DeCausa (talk) 21:06, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I suspect that you just haven't thought it through. If someone isn't supposed to close "emotionally charged" subjects if they feel strongly about them, then aren't you, in effect, saying that black people shouldn't close discussions on emotionally charged black-white race-related topics?
I'd be surprised if you hadn't encountered similar issues in your profession. Have you heard about clients saying things like, "I only got convicted because that woman judge was biased against me: They think all men are criminals." "I don't think men should be judges in family court; they can't understand what it means as a mother to lose custody of your children." "Mr Justice English-silver-spoon-in-his-mouth will never understand how hard it is to survive when you're working-class and Welsh." "Here I am, looking for justice in my native England, and they've got some foreigner hearing my case."
There's all kinds of 'being black' for this purpose. What I hear from American lawyers is that being female or a different race from the defendant is 'being black' for US judges (in criminal court, at least). Polite people don't like to sound racist and sexist, but defendants aren't always polite. Here, you happen to have named religion, politics, and national identity as your idea of what it means to be 'too black to edit'. In quality, looking at someone's userpage and saying, 'You look too Irish to close that discussion about the Orangemen' is not really much different from a policeman looking in the window of a car and saying, 'You look too black to drive unmolested in my town.' WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:11, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think "you just haven't thought it through" is an argument that is likely to convince me. My point isn't "someone isn't supposed to close "emotionally charged" subjects if they feel strongly about them". My point is about userboxes. There's a self-evident difference between an inherent characteristic (ethnicity, gender, nationality) and advertising a political or religious point of view. I think there's also a difference between holding a religious or political point of view and advertising it. Oh well, I suppose if I think it through enough I'll realise just how wrong I am. DeCausa (talk) 10:19, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
You're saying: I don't care (and can't verify) whether you are 'black'; I only care if you look 'black'. If you look 'black', then I'm going to punish you you for doing something that would be perfectly fine for you or anyone else to do, so long they don't look 'black'. That's what driving while black is: it's okay to drive your car, but if you look black, then you'll be punished, and if you don't look black—even if you have significant African ancestry—then you will not be punished.
It is morally offensive because such rules force the person who looks 'black' to choose between (1) being punished for going about their everyday business or (2) getting back in the closet and pretending to be 'white'. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:03, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Er, I know what "driving while black" is. But thank you for spelling out so clearly so that even I could understand. Don't worry, I'll carry on thinking it through until I agree with you. ;-) DeCausa (talk) 19:10, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

I couldn't agree with DeCausa more that anyone flaunting their allegiance to a particular "side" of a debate would be unwise to close a debate abut that subject, or indeed to perform contentious reverts in that area. Unfortunately these are often the only experts or indeed interested editors we have in an area, and sometimes the expert knowledge is essential, interest also helps. Rich Farmbrough, 15:12, 20 February 2011 (UTC).

Being concerned about a possible COI of a closer makes sense, but I believe the proposal would be wholly ineffective. The determined COI closer could simply choose to remove the userbox(es). (By the same token, one can add userboxes that misrepresent one's own identity, which may have its advantages to a COI editor as well.) The way things are set up currently, probably the only way to effectively contest a COI closure would be to demonstrate the COI through diffs throughout the closer's editing history, which could admittedly be rather cumbersome (I'd like to see more Wikipedia advanced search options). One might argue that Wikipedia should require all editors to edit under their full legal names and city of residence, having provided legal evidence of the same to register, and COI would under those circumstances likely be considerably easier to demonstrate. However, I really don't see that ever happening. Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 15:59, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

I understand that criminal judges recuse themselves from many cases, but I don't believe that they go so far as to step out of any case related to their religion or ethnicity. Even if onlookers entertain their suspicions about the judge's neutrality. I understand that judges also are expected to avoid political commentary, but I'm not convinced that is truly a good idea. In the U.S. we have a sort of Kafkaesque dance whereby candidates signal their beliefs for purposes of confirmation, even while refusing to state them, but I don't know what it accomplishes. As long as a judge is committed to judge each future case on its own merits, that is what matters. In any case, Wikipedia participants, even admins, aren't taking on a career as a Supreme Court judge - we can't expect them to remain politically silent simply so that they can judge cases for which they aren't paid and which aren't really important compared to legal cases. Even if they were banned from stating their religion or espousing their politics, they could simply start up another account. I think the rules on multiple accounts should even recognize that would be a good reason, if it were required. But I don't think we should require it, because it's better to know the judge's biases than to not know them, all else being equal. I think we should take userboxes of that sort to be a voluntary disclosure, meant to make it easier for people to point out to someone when he is being biased or fails to understand something about the case. Wnt (talk) 03:25, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Decades, centuries, millenniums

I know this has been discussed to death, but I'm not aware of any relevant policy or consensus. From what I can tell, in articles: decades go from xxx0-xxx9. Centuries go from xx01-xx00. Millenniums from x001-x000. Is there an MoS guideline, consensus, policy or anything that covers this? I'm so sick of the arguing. I'm under the impression that although technically these groupings span from the year 1, not the year 0, society simply ignores this and recognizes '9's as endings, '0's as beginnings. Swarm X 07:39, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes, that is correct. We simply follow the system. Yoenit (talk) 07:50, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
The manual of style has a section on centuries and milleniums (see wp:CENTURY). Decades are not yet covered, but the article decade states: Since the common calendar starts from the year 1, its first full decade contained the years from 1 to 10, the second decade from 11 to 20, and so on.[6] So while the "1960s" comprises the years 1960 to 1969, the "197th decade" spans 1961 to 1970. That makes sense to me. Yoenit (talk) 08:00, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
As far as article titles are concerned, the guideline is WP:NCNUM. (Of course, any period of 10/100/1000 years can be called a decade/century/millennium; we split them up in the way we do because the resulting periods are (mostly) ones which have commonly used names - the "20th century" goes from 1901 to 2000, while the "1930s" go from 1930-1939 - these are the commonly used named periods, which unfortunately don't match up exactly at the ends. --Kotniski (talk) 08:56, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
That all does make sense. When referring to the century, the "1900s" 1900-1999 isn't the same as the "20th century" (1901-2000). Yes, that's a simple rule to follow. Swarm X 19:28, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Rain forests, deserts and coral reefs

What is Wikipedia? I am certain you will agree it is more than an attractive set of pixel-bound volumes resting upon the digital shelves of our second-living rooms. For myself, I have not yet decided exactly what Wikipedia is, but I am enjoying the process of discovery this question entails.

Perhaps for a moment we might consider our encyclopedia as a world in itself; a biosphere; a collection of living and nonliving things, interacting together within a framework of natural laws, subject to environmental pressures and natural selection, powered by solar energy, continuously changing and continuously seeking equilibrium.

This equilibrium is essential to the natural diversity of life, indeed ultimately to the survival of all life. Nature seems to love diversity; it seldom fills an ecological niche with one species when twenty can survive. This diversity in turn lends strength to nature through resilience and endless adaptations. So it is with our encyclopedia. Articles flourish and multiply. They divide. They wither, then spring up again in new forms. The environment changes and life evolves; new ideas, new technologies, new realities, new articles and new perspectives on old articles.

But not all our ecosystems are equally diverse and resilient. Some receive less rainfall, less sun. Some environments are harsh; they can only support slow, gradual steady growth. Some can only recover from trauma over a long period of time.

Please join me in taking just a moment to reflect upon what kind of encyclopedia, what kind of world, if you will, we wish to see when we peer in through these little LED displays. Shall it be one filled with diversity? Diversity of thought, diversity of ideas, diversity of culture. Can this diversity give us the strength and resilience to withstand change and grow? I say Yes.

The evolutionary process of our encyclopedia need not be solely a matter of mindless natural selection, and survival of the fittest. That's not how you make a good encyclopedia anyway. Science in medieval Islam and Mathematics in medieval Islam will take a long time to recover. First, there was the abuse and neglect. Overly enthusiastic editing, with no one around to stop the excesses. And in the end, it only took a couple of editors with a chainsaw to bring several hundred years of the shared history of our world crashing down. There is an issue we need to confront here in our little world. It's being discussed, it's being studied, but we don't really seem to have faced it straight on. Yet. It's about the effects of systemic bias on our encyclopedia.

Aquib (talk) 01:51, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Do mind the boomerangs; they tend to hurt after a while. This is a content dispute, and I'm not sure why you're bringing it here. There are other noticeboards better suited if you so desire. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:02, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a policy matter. If you don't want to read my post then feel free to move along. If you read it and you don't understand what I am saying, feel free to ask questions. Aquib (talk) 03:19, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I fully understand what you're saying, although you really only needed the last paragraph to make your point. You're angry that a couple of people removed some rather slanted content from an article, and you've come here to complain about it. The issue of systemic bias has nothing to do with the specific issue you're talking about; I'm intimately familiar with systemic bias, my main content editing being with Burmese related articles, and this isn't it. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:29, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I will not be baited and I will not withdraw my assertion. I am here to discuss Wikipedia policy on systemic bias and you are behaving in a disruptive manner. Aquib (talk) 03:44, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not being disruptive; I'm offering my view on your assertion. I happen to disagree with you, I don't see this as a systemic bias issue. Perhaps others will agree with me, and perhaps they will agree with you; that remains to be seen. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:51, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
OK then, because I am not here to argue the case in point, I simply brought it along as an example. I am certain your Burmese articles would be suitable in this regard as well.
Perhaps you can answer a question for me. Does Wikipedia have a policy on systemic bias? I see we have an article here Wikipedia:Systemic_bias, which is helpful. I understand there is a project to try to mitigate it by promoting areas of the encyclopedia that may suffer the effects of this condition. But we do not seem to have a formal policy that addresses it. Aquib (talk) 04:18, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not really sure how we could come up with something like that; we have WP:Systemic bias, but you ultimately can't force people to contribute to things they aren't interested in. I'd love to be proven wrong, but the only thing I can think of would be to try and attract a broader editor base; if you can think of something that would work, then you'll be a wiki-hero. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 04:22, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I believe it is important for Wikipedia to have a policy that addresses this condition. Of course, the development of articles in these areas (as mentioned) is an excellent idea, I should try to get involved with that myself. But things need to be done proactively to protect and nurture the work that is being done. There are roadblocks put in the way of development of these articles. The people who are working on them are put at a disadvantage in a variety of situations dealing with cultural norms, citations, manners of address, titles of people and, yes, content. I got off on the wrong foot with the content aspect, but I do have some strong feelings on that subject, and some strong opinions. I'll leave that alone for now. Let me take a different approach. This is a huge subject and change needs to be brought about incrementally. Let me take one example: honorifics, titles and manners of addressing people.
"Titles of honor" is a particularly irksome example. There are lots of South Asian articles which refer to people as hazrat. It's a title like 'his honor' for example. But these are not allowed because this is the English Wikipedia? So here we have all these articles being industriously entered into the encyclopedia, and a wikicop cleanup crew following along behind citing WP:MOS and defacing and dishonoring these people. The insensitivity, the disrespect, the uselessness. I just shake my head and think "how would I feel if I put my famous people on Wikipedia and someone came along behind me and disfigured their name this way", basically insulting them and sending the article off into oblivion for practical purposes. It's shameful. It makes me feel embarrassed. This is a clear example where NPOV is creating a Eurocentric bias and repelling editors from other parts of the world. These are not universal norms. Simply because English is the international language, the non English editors should accept our western cultural norms as well?
Aquib (talk) 05:27, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
In Burmese articles, we usually leave the honorifics on; we use Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan instead of Sha La Phan (his daughter Zoya is an exception; her name is Russian, and she's better known to English speakers than Burmese/Karen speakers). Can you point me to a specific article where that's happening? I can see where that would be a problem; however, the other point of view would be that this is the English language, and we have our own way of referring to people that normally doesn't involve honorifics. Burmese, for instance, is diametrically opposed; anyone who is not family or an extremely close friend takes some sort of honorific. In English, we say Aung San Suu Kyi; in Burmese, it would be more common to say "Daw Aung San Suu Kyi" (Daw is an honorific roughly meaning "aunt"). But Aung San Suu Kyi is sufficiently well known to the English-speaking world that we've taken to using a somewhat anglicized form of her name. I'm not saying one or the other is right here, but do you at least see where I'm coming from? The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:41, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes I do see your point and I can relate to the sense of "otherness" experienced by "western" readers who encounter these honorifics. And authors from other cultures need to understand this as well, since they would presumably want their material accessible to the mainstream. So there are two sides. But we need to get past this, we are in a stalemate and the encyclopedia is suffering from it. On balance, the harm caused by allowing honorifics is far outweighed by the harm being caused to the encyclopedia by this warring and exclusion. It is, sorry to say, basically a matter of cultural insensitivity. I can find some examples I'm sure, all the ones I was watching got "buzzed" quite some time ago. Interesting you see the same patterns in Burmese culture, I do believe it is a widespread practice to honor other people in these ways. Of course once a person reaches superstar status as Aung San Suu Kyi (a personal favorite figure of mine) then their popular name enters the lexicon. -Aquib (talk) 06:14, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
(undent) The end result of such long philosophical prose is that no one will read it, and thus, no one will care. Everything you said in those two very long paragraphs could be summed up in roughly this "There is systemic bias in Wikipedia, especially against Middle East related topics. There needs to be a policy to fix this." Now, I happen to agree that there is systemic bias all over the project, on all sorts of things, and that the WP:NPOV policy is gamed or ignored very often, now the question is what can people do to change that. If you want to pursue that question, I advise you to use short statements in normal prose, and avoid philosophical soliloquies. Sven Manguard Wha? 05:42, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Points taken -Aquib (talk) 05:54, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I thought your OP was beautiful but, per Sven, it was a little long for these forums. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 10:34, 19 February 2011 (UTC) .
Thank you, and I apologize. I usually do not approach issues in this manner. -Aquib (talk) 07:17, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Requests for comment/dispute resolution has some overlap with the above discussion. Peter jackson (talk) 10:37, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I will take a look, thanks -Aquib (talk) 07:17, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I haven't looked through that article but I have had the unwelcome experience of having some very energetic pests go through articles sticking in all sorts of inventions and mathematics they attribute to islamic scholars and put in citations which when inspection do not support what they say. So I can well believe it had loads and loads of citations ad yet still needs a task force to go through it and check it thoroughly. Dmcq (talk) 14:32, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, thanks -Aquib (talk) 07:17, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Titles can be used as guidelines stand in the lead of the article. The reasons we don't use them, that I am aware of (there may be more) in the body of the article are:
  1. Titles can change over a person's lifetime
  2. Verbosity.
  3. Some titles are disputed.
I suspect there is also an egalitarian agenda at work, however that is irrelevant if the above reasons are enough to support the practice (which I think, in general they are). Rich Farmbrough, 16:00, 22 February 2011 (UTC).
Thank you this is indeed a bit of interesting news. -Aquib (talk) 13:40, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Extension of Notability Concept/Article Length Limits Proposed.

To the extent that it is reasonable that articles about individuals require that the individual meet notability criteria, I would suggest that also in order for an article to exceed a certain length, say, 100 words, further criteria be met.

This was inspired by the lengthy David Icke article -- I am not sure, but I would guess that it is longer than the article on, say, Bertrand Russel. (Actually, it looks close.)

I don't know if storage space is an issue for Wikipedia and this is not why I am proposing this. Obviously, long articles can be edited after they are written, but I would argue that requiring special permission to create lengthy articles would encourage at least better writing and as mentioned is consistent with the sentiment that underlies the notability requirement.--Jrm2007 (talk) 13:10, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Absolutely not. Liable to result in articles written in telegraphese, and unworkable: I write a 99-word bio about one-legged pole-vaulter Marlene Hoppentwang, and then someone else adds the essential information that she's running (hopping?) for election to the Belgian parliament, taking the word-count to 112. Do we have to re-submit the article as 'more-notable'? There are better ways to encourage good writing than by imposing arbitrary rules. We could start by insisting that not only the article subject him/her/itself is notable, but also that the information in articles is relevant - cut out the ethno-tagging from bios, and the blindingly-obvious and/or irrelevant categories from articles in general, and we'll make a good start. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:53, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Agree, it's impractical, and 100 words would be an absurdly low limit. What maybe would be useful is some kind of automatic tagging of articles over, say, 5000 words as possibly too long - just to alert editors that it might be time to look at splitting the article up into sub-articles. Barnabypage (talk) 14:32, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
No way, this would be a great way to cripple the further development of Wikipedia. The length of one article does not and should not impose any restrictions on the length of another article. If Wikipedians appear to be more interested in David Icke than Bertrand Russell, the solution is not to make them jump through hoops to write a lengthy article on Mr. Icke, but to go and edit the article on Mr. Russell yourself, and perhaps recruit other editors at a relevant Wikiproject. Fences&Windows 16:16, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

One hundred words was meant as a for instance and is almost certainly too low; a generous default for even low-notability bios would be okay. And the primary motivation is not to encourage better writing -- it is to do whatever good things the notability requirement does. I am saying that in the same way including non-notable person's bio in Wikipedia is considered "bad", devoting too much space to an insuffiently notable person's bio must also be bad.

What is the purpose of the notability requirement? Is it valuable? If so, I suggest that article length should be governed then also by degree of notability. Frankly, whatever it takes to shorten articles like Icke's would be great.Jrm2007 (talk) 16:19, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Notability does not affect article content. You may want to consider WP:UNDUE to trim down excessive coverage of some parts of an article. --MASEM (t) 16:22, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Okay, here is how I think my idea would work in practice. In the same way an article can be a candidate for deletion on the basis of lack of notability, I am suggesting an analogous thing: an article is candidate for shortening on the basis of lack of sufficient notability. This is not saying, delete the article, it is saying justify the length or shorten it. I can object to the length and ask someone who is more familiar with topic to fix it -- my objection to length should not mean that I myself have to shorten it. Jrm2007 (talk) 16:31, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Why on earth do you want to shorten those articles? Yoenit (talk) 16:36, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
If you are serious in your question, my answer is, why on earth do we want to exclude some articles entirely? I am asking for some sort of reasonable balance based upon importance of a person. If you say that is subjective, then why can't I have an article about my cat included? Maybe an article longer than Icke's even? Why can't the Icke article include stuff about his cat? I am sure people would be interested in that.Jrm2007 (talk) 16:43, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Article content has nothing to do with notability. The relevant polices for content are verifiability and undue weight. As long as all material in that article is verifiable and is not considered undue weight, the material can be included, even if it is about his cat. Yoenit (talk)
You used Bertrand Russel as your example for article length, but did you realize we have an entire series of articles about him? See for example Bertrand Russell's views on society and Bertrand Russell's views on philosophy. Those combined are significantly longer than the David Icke article. Yoenit (talk) 17:05, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
We want to exclude some articles entirely because either we cannot properly verify them, we can't write about them neutrally, or they are a type of content that Wikipedia does not include. We do not want to formally restrict the length of articles, we decide the length of articles by reference to the coverage in reliable sources, a consideration of breaking articles that are too long into separate articles, and avoiding focussing too much on minor or obscure issues. Fences&Windows 21:12, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

I think that, for the purposes of Jrm2007's proposal, a better choice of articles would be Pokemon and Rock blasting. I could see how an outsider, not familiar with how we build articles, could come along and see the disparity in length between the two subjects, and think that its perverse that the Pokemon article is longer than the Rock blasting article. I'm not saying I support this proposal, just that I can see where Jrm2007 is coming from. RadManCF open frequency 22:23, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

I don't support any restriction on the length of articles. (except of course, that they have to be verifiable, sourced, and not copied or plagiarized) The notability process is already more trouble than it's worth, without adding extra steps. And a length limit would put editors at each other's throats even more than now, trying to delete good material just so they can add their own. Wikipedia has a much better answer with summary style and an ever expanding series of sub-articles for major topics (or at least topics of interest to contributors). Wnt (talk) 18:31, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Another aspect of this is the subtle POV-push of expanding an article to bolster the reputation of the subject. An example: one of the longest articles (and possibly the longest) on a post-WW2 British politician is Enoch Powell. It's 133kb + spin-off articles (for reference, in comparison Margaret Thatcher is 113kb and Tony Blair is 107kb). (For those that don't know, Powell was a right-wing politician who became prominent in the early 70s and late 60s as a rsult of advocating allegedly racist policies, but ultimately having little impact on British politics. His main claim to fame is hived off into a 25k article.) There's some dubious parts of the text, but on the whole it reads reasonably NPOV. However, the length is, to my mind, a more subtle way of giving the subject greater importance than desreved, and quite a subtle way of pushing a POV, IMO. DeCausa (talk) 18:33, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

I believe that contributing useful content is an acceptable way to push a POV - that seeing good articles go up on Wikipedia is an acceptable reward for the editor's work. I don't think that we should have some bureaucrat in charge who tells the editors what they're allowed to work on and what they're not, who sets the overall priorities for what Wikipedia covers all by himself. We should recognize the editor's right to build up whatever part of the encyclopedia he wants, provided it is neutral and verifiable. Wnt (talk) 03:30, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
What makes you think length = quality? Enoch Powell (B class whereas Margaret Thatcher is 'Good' and former FA) is quite a boring read - with a level of detail that is mainly of interest to fans of the man. DeCausa (talk) 09:59, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Ideal as it would be to steer editors from long articles on subjects of limited notability or importance to short articles on subjects of great notability or importance, I don't know how that could practically be done. More advanced wiki software might be able to, when someone clicks an edit link on a long article, put suggestions of short articles in similar categories as the long one with wikilinks to them above the open edit window. But the software would have no way of knowing how notable or important those other articles are, so it could end up suggesting non-notable things grow, and that would defeat the purpose. I guess Watson (artificial intelligence software) might be able to recognize someday how impactful a subject has been, but he'd probably end up rewriting all the articles himself rather than make suggestions to mere people who won't do as good a job.

Anyway, it's not the size that matters, it's what you do with it. With regard to the Icke article, in a number of instances the references used are primary source documents by Icke himself. Apart from the issues of OR and UNDUE with the use of primary sources, per the WP:SPS and WP:ABOUTSELF sections of WP:Verifiability, in the case of Icke, the only time an Icke reference should ever appear is when it's in the form of: <ref>{{Reliable third-party source reference}} citing {{David Icke questionable self-published source reference}}</ref>. It's odd, but that doesn't seem to have been brought up on that article's talk page. Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 04:44, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Huh, where did you get that idea? There are restrictions to self-published sources, but we don't require 3th party references to cite them before we can use them. Yoenit (talk) 08:27, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Challenged or likely to be challenged

There has been some argument that certain main space content does not require references. These arguments tend to be about lists or article stubs, but could be about any main space content. The rational being the per Wikipedia:Verifiability, only content "challenged or likely to be challenged" actually needs to be referenced. I am officially challenging any main space content (article, stub, list, disambiguation page) that is completely without references, currently on Wikipedia. You may also consider it likely that I will challenge any new content added without references. Anyone that would like assist in adding references is welcome to join me at Wikipedia:WikiProject Unreferenced articles where we have been working on this task since May 2007. Our back log is huge, over 250,000 article. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 11:56, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Well, that that would requires us to delete 80% of Wikipedia. (the about 80% which is not specifically cited) This could re-raise the issue of my proposal which would be to amend it to say such a challenge must include raising a good faith question on some grounds other than just that it is uncited. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 12:12, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
"Officially" implies some sort of authority; has Jeepday been specially appointed to do this?
It's also contradictory. "only content 'challenged or likely to be challenged' actually needs to be referenced" is quite different from "I am officially challenging any main space content" which, apart from sounding rather unilateral and imperious and not in the spirit of Wikipedia, is a major change to our current and very reasonable approach. This needs to be discussed properly before we unleash anyone on the mass deletion of perfectly good content. --Bermicourt (talk) 12:21, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Too many editors have come to see all sentences without a footnote (or a ugly big tag) as equally problematic. Wikipedia can not work that way, and the reason it can work without people taking such an extreme literalist approach is because, indeed, not all un-sourced sentences are equally likely to be challenged. Pretending that they are all the same is wrong, and insisting that we should act as if they are leads to silliness. Let's all remember that WP:IAR is not just an article with a funny title. It is essential.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:24, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
There is a difference, one that WP:V tries to explain, in unsourced and unreferenced. Everything in an article must be verifiable to some source (apart from "the bleeding obvious" exception, a la "the sky is blue"). That is what WP:V is saying. What it then tries to clarify is that in practice you do not have to inline reference absolutely everything to prove verification; only things that are commonly challenged (with the obvious aim of stopping continual challenge to the content). This can be extended to note that under the letter of the law there is no actual requirement for the source you are using to be listed in the article. I think practically there is a balance to this; if you are adding material from a source, note it down somewhere, it's common sense. Cite inline all quotes and material that might be challenged. And then consider sensible citation for the rest of the content (perhaps your source covers a whole paragraph of content, so you can stick it at the end of the paragraph rather than after each sentence). --Errant (chat!) 12:32, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
While I believe in a future where all content on wikipedia is referenced this project is going at with the wrong attitude (deleting instead of referencing). Stuff like Wikipedia:Unreferenced BLP Rescue is the way to go if you truly want to get rid of unreferenced pages. They referenced 40.000 pages last year, removing a significant part of your backlog. How about you start helping them instead of deleting random math pages which are completely harmless? Yoenit (talk) 12:34, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
You are all talking about the intent of wp:ver rather than what it actually says. This might be our chance to fix a policy who's letter currently conflicts with the clear intent of "challenged or likely to be challenged". In other words, Jeepday is right according to the letter of wp:ver and wp:nor and according to current policy (unless we fix it) people can now start to delete 80% of Wikipedia. I propose that we add wording to wp:ver and it's duplicate wp:nor to say that a "challenge" is to include raising a question about the material other than that it is uncited. North8000 (talk) 12:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
This will cause major issues for the small band of translators who are adding to the sum of human knowledge by importing material from other language Wikipedias which are less mature or have different rules and therefore aren't as heavily referenced as English Wikipedia. Even if the "source Wiki" is quoted on the talk page, it is is not obvious on the article page and, of course, does not count as an original reference. If we start enforcing these rules too rigorously too soon we will not only lose thousands of pretty uncontentious articles, but also the goodwill of translators. These articles need the chance to mature and acquire references in a sensible timeframe, unless they contain obviously challengeable material. --Bermicourt (talk) 12:51, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that this has been debated over and over. If there is no citation for something in Wikipedia, then how does a reader verify it? It is generally specific points, often in the middle of a paragraph, that get challenged. I know from my own experience that when something I added was referenced only at the end of the article, or even at the end of the paragraph, I have had trouble finding which of the sources that I had used supported the specific point when it was challenged. Personally, I'm rather sparing in challenging statements in WP, because it's a pain to keep track of them for future action. However, I believe that Wikipedia would actually be improved by deleting a lot of the unsourced crap that has crept in over the years. -- Donald Albury 12:56, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Of course, but should people challenge and delete automatically? Should we work like bots? See WP:IAR. Some of the best work on Wikipedia is done by people who know something about a subject and know what can be sourced. They might not always know what everyone will challenge, but that does not mean they can't do so. And by definition Wikipedia is done by volunteers who work irregularly, who might not even be aware of challenges. Some of the worst work on Wikipedia is done by people who do rules-based work on articles where they do not know, or make effort to know, the pros and cons of what they are deleting. If wording in policy pages is wrong it should be improved. Wikipedia should try to avoid developing a pseudo-sacred approach to its policy wordings.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:12, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that my proposed change would keep the uses and stop the mis-uses. North8000 (talk) 13:19, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I should have responded. Yes, your suggestion seems simple and an improvement. I think it would be hard to think of a good argument against it.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:05, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Andrew, you seem to be implying that only experts in a subject should edit an article. In my opinion, the worst work on WP is done by editors who add stuff they think they know or that they heard somewhere without bothering to check reliable sources. Having to cite sources makes editors double-check what they think they know. I know I'm often surprised at what I learn when I start looking for reliable sources to cite for something I want to add to WP. I think also that part of the point of "no original research" is that an editor should not be making decisions about the pros and cons of a subject, but instead referring to what reliable sources say are the pros and cons. -- Donald Albury!
I agree with you and I think you are not reading me correctly. I am saying that people who do not know a subject should be more careful about deleting things, not editing things. I am saying not all sentences without a footnote are equally worthy of being challenged. What do you think about those two statements?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:05, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, deletion should only be done for good reason. However, anybody has the right to challenge unsourced material, and if nothing is done to cite sources for that material in a reasonable time, I think anybody has the right to remove that material. And then, who gets to decide whether a statement is worthy of having a citation? -- Donald Albury 22:26, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
How about this for a crazy, and yet very Wikipedia-traditional, answer: the editors working on an article should find a WP:consensus, and should avoid trying to trump discussion by trying to describe each other as breaking rules. Rules can never cover all cases (WP:IAR). I think many of us know how this discussion goes next, if it continues:-
  • Some people will say "all challenges are good, give an example where they are not".
  • Then others will give clear examples.
  • Then the answer will be "yes but these are behavioral problems, and anyway this subject has come up before many times and we've never done anything about it, so that proves there is a consensus to keep things like they are." :)
I like North8000's proposal.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:07, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Challenging millions of articles simultaneously, most of which you cant have read - that sounds like a job for WP:SPIDERMAN (grin). Seriously, this has been debated at WP:V over and over, and the consensus that has formed is that references are only required for certain things. The idea that you could get around this consensus by formally "challenging" things you haven't read is a little too legalistic for our system. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:48, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Question to all Wikipedians — Where does it say "delete articles that are unreferenced"? Articles that are unreferenced are not the same as articles that can not be referenced. When we see an article that is unreferenced we should WP:SOFIXIT. If we are lazy we can just add {{unreferenced}}. Deletion should only be used when appropriate. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 15:14, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
WP:ver basically says "when in doubt take it out".....= when in doubt on this) the person who wants to take it out wins. Period. Not that we can't change it. North8000 (talk) 15:50, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
This has been discussed over and over again... To some degree, it comes down to a debate between the two types of people who contribute to Wikipedia, those who are article "Writers" and those who are article "Editors"
Article "Writers" focus on adding information to articles. They tend to be "inclusionist" in attitude, supporting limitations on when information should be removed. They want the freedom to write as they think best, they get upset when their work is challenged.
Article "Editors", on the other hand, focus on trying to improve existing articles (which can include removing information from articles). They tend to be "Exclusionist" in attitude, supporting the removal of problematic material and the freedom to do so as they think best.
There is always going to be a tug of war between Writers and Editors. But the reality is that Wikipedia needs both. And I think our policies reflect the needs and outlook of both. Writers need the freedom to write... and editors need the freedom to edit. This includes removing unsourced information if they think it is necessary. Blueboar (talk) 16:13, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure this is the best way to approach the problem. Are you sure everyone fits in these two categories? Are you sure that the current text can not be improved in a way which people from both categories might approve of? Is it really logical to use the argument that a complaint which comes up often means it is a complaint which should not have anything done about it? (This argument seems to get used a lot whenever policy wordings are discussed.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:10, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I find that distinction between "writers" and "editors" artificial. I am both a "writer" (I've started over 200 articles and added content to many more) and an "editor" (I copy edit, fix formatting, usw.). I am careful to provide sources for all content I add, and often add citations for sources I find for existing content. I do not understand why so many editors object to being asked to do the same. -- Donald Albury 22:33, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
PS to my previous comment. That refers to material IN the article, not the article itself.
Blueboar's comment implicity refers to people (who he classifes as editors) who have a good faith question about the material. This thread (and my post) are about deleters who don't have a good faith question. North8000 (talk) 16:33, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
North... The problem with your comment is this: Who gets to determine whether a challenge is in "good faith" or not... the challenger or the person who disagrees with the challenge? I think it has to be the challenger. We are supposed to assume good faith, after all... that means we are supposed to assume that the material was tagged or removed because the challenging editor honestly thinks that it is in the best interest of the project and the article to tag or remove it... that assumption is the default, whether the challenger explains his challenge or not. Barring explicit evidence of bad faith, the challenger gets the benefit of the doubt as to whether removal was done in good faith or not. Blueboar (talk) 17:47, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
At the same time, challenging a million articles simultaneously is too from the spirit of "challenged material" idea to take too seriously. It comes across as grandstanding. Specific, detailed challenges about a particular article demonstrate good faith. Asking for a citation for an article you haven't read looks like polemics. — Carl (CBM · talk) 18:54, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Blueboar, I am not sure North8000 is using a clear term when he says good faith. His original explanation above would be a more clear criterium: "a "challenge" is to include raising a question about the material other than that it is uncited".--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:29, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Jeepday. It seems you are more talking about the requirements of WP:N (all articles must have sufficient referencing to establish notability) that WP:V (all material must be verifiable, inline citation should be provided for specific types of material) --Errant (chat!) 16:55, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
WP:N is path towards deletion (or not), which is not what I am suggesting. Verifiability can be done completly with primnary sources (assuming WP:RS) in which case it may (or may not) fail WP:N. A single WP:RS can provide "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth; that is, whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true.", but it can not support WP:N by its self. I am only speaking to WP:V which does in part impact WP:N and WP:OR, but those are not the subject of this discussion. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 17:03, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Verifibilty is not a magic wand. Even if
  1. there's a citation
  2. it's a reliable source
  3. it actually supports the statement
(all of which are often false), that's no guarantee there isn't an equally or more relaible source that says the exact opposite, which has been omitted by ignorance or bias. Peter jackson (talk) 18:51, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Jeepday, then I am somewhat at a loss as to the point of what you have raised. Claiming that you challenge all material on the Wiki seems contrary to the spirit of the verification guideline, which specifically avoids specifying how sources should be presented except in two specific scenarios. Sure, "challenged" is not defined, but common convention is to assume that is controversial or otherwise difficult material. Not everything :) Theoretically you could write an article, drop in a couple of sources to establish the notability and leave it at that. So long as the content is verifiable that is fine-Errant (chat!) 22:01, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
(added later)IMHO it's not common convention to limit such to controversial material. For example it pervasive to use that to wage POV wars or pissing wars where the person invoking it does not really question the material.North8000 (talk) 22:26, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Andrew Lancaster was right, I didn't mean to create a "good faith" condition and never should have put that in there. So it should say to amend it to say that the challenge is to include raising a question (any question) beyond just its lack of a citation. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 20:38, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Two thoughts:
  • Editors here, who are doubtless familiar with WP:BLUE, might also like to read WP:Likely to be challenged. Our choice of language there does not imply "conceivably possible that some troll might challenge it": We require WP:Inline citations when we think it actually WP:LIKELY that someone will dispute the matter (and for some reason other than "there's no inline citation after this obviously accurate sentence").
  • It's worth remembering that the relevant advice pages are named VerifiABLE and NotABLE, not VerifiED and NotED. If it is possible—not convenient, easy, or already spoonfed to you–to find reliable sources to support the material, then the material itself has already met Wikipedia's requirements for inclusion (except for direct quotations and contentious matter about living people). This means that the problem in most cases is merely one of how we are presenting the material, not with the material itself.
I support use, and even what some might call overuse, of inline citations. However, I'm not under any illusions that what I think normally best is absolutely required by our policies. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:34, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

"There has been some argument that certain main space content does not require references. These arguments tend to be about lists or article stubs" Citations on lists was discussed recently at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/Archive 45#Verification of lists. A discussion about stubs is currently ongoing at Template talk:Unreferenced#Proposal.

JeepdaySock you challenge seems to be potentially very pointy. Errant makes some good points which I would sum up as a challenge to un-cited content has to be base on a test of reasonableness if it is not to be seen as disruptive. BTW I have just checked Main Page and today it has neither citations or an unreferenced template (BEANS)-- PBS (talk) 00:49, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

I Challenged and continue to challenge, any main space page that is completely without references. Per "whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source", there should be at the very least a source listed on every article on Wikipedia, Main Page included. Placing unreferenced tag there would be disruptive, but is easily referencable, as it is all or mostly bits from well referenced articles. Can anyone provide a main space content example that is exempt from references, not because we have a habit of not referencing it but because we as Wikipedia made a decision that references/sources where not required? I am not saying that there needs to be inline citations for every sentence in Wikipedia, I am saying there should not be a single main space page without any sources listed, and that the core content policies WP:V and WP:OR require it. I don't need to read every article to know that if it is without any sources, it should have one. What would the "test of reasonableness" be, that completely un-sourced main space content is exempt from providing sources? JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 12:08, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Nothing is exempt from verifiability. But there is also nothing prescribing how accessible those sources should be or how they are presented. However, all articles do need some sort of sourcing presented because our notability guidelines require it. Your talking semantics a lot here; but I think the point is unreferenced articles are a problem. Making a point about it in the way you did hasn't really helped! But I agree; they are a bit problem :) To be 100% clear; everything must have a source. But we do not demand outright that everything should be specifically cited. This is the point of V. --Errant (chat!) 12:18, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Errant surly "using an inline citation" is a prescription in V about presenting sources? WP:Notability is a guideline and AFAICT it does not say that sources need to be included in an article to meet notability. -- PBS (talk) 12:57, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
JeepdaySock isn't Main Page in "main space"? Your point about Main Page "but is easily referencable, as it is all or mostly bits from well referenced articles." is also true for many summary pages and lists (and probably some stubs). As for other articles, there is no policy requirement for list of general references in a section in an article that contains no in-line citations, and there is only a requirement for in-line citations for quotes etc, which brings us back to you comments about the content of Main Page.
If short format in-line citations are used an article will need list of general references in a section at the bottom of the page (to couple with the short citations). Indeed over the last six years or so I think there has been a move away from only general references, (hence {{Refimprove}} and its myriad of cousins). In the past WP:CITE, for a time, defined (I thought mistakenly) general references as citations. It no longer does that. So the way to interpret {{unreferenced}} "This article does not cite any references or sources"--as I always have--is a demand for in-line citations, not a demand for a list of general references. And in-line citations are only mandated for ... which brings us back to your comments about Main Page. -- PBS (talk) 12:57, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
@Errant: WP:N literally says "Notability requires only the existence of suitable reliable sources, not their immediate citation." It does not require that sources have to actually be included, only that they have to exist in the real world. While it would be nice for every article to have a source, there is no policy that requires it. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:06, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I've always understood the convention to be that while WP:N doesn't actively specify citing references the wording under "Notability requires verifiable evidence" strongly implies that those sources should be accessible in some form (and further convention is that that is as links on the page). "While it would be nice for every article to have a source, there is no policy that requires it."; agreed :)
@PBS; it only prescribes that for specific types of material (although one of those types is left a little open to interpretation). As I mention above the requirement for some form of references in all articles is more related to convention around establishing notability.
The bottom line is that there is a balance that WP:V seeks to establish; which is that we should use common sense with citation and referencing, that good sourcing is encouraged, but that practically material need only be verifiable in some reasonable way. This is to avoid the sort of situation where sourcing is dumped into the page for every other word and sentence ("do you have a source saying the Louve is in Paris? Please cite it inline") --Errant (chat!) 13:14, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I've usually thought about WP:N as saying it would be nice if the sources were listed, but the same "evidence" section says "Editors evaluating notability should consider not only any sources currently named in an article, but also the possibility of notability-indicating sources that are not currently named in the article." So there is no requirement for WP:N that the sources have to be listed in the article.
Nobody will complain about editors adding references, but at the same time we have to remember that articles which don't yet list references can still be in full agreement with all of our actual requirements, even if those articles don't reach our goals yet. I think that the premise behind "I challenge millions of articles" conflates the requirements with the goals. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:22, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Yep, eloquently summed up there I think. --Errant (chat!) 13:28, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Maybe we should remove "whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source" from WP:V, as it is not really the "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia", it would nice if they could. Notice that is says "Readers", not librarians, or internet searcher, people who are reading the content not searching for support. We should probably remove "Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed.", as well. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday)
(←) It's true that any information lacking an explicit source may be removed. It's also true that no source is required for non-controversial, non-biographical, non-quotation material. These don't contradict each other. The point is that editors are supposed to use discretion when adding material and when removing it. Someone adding apparently unsourceable information to thousands of articles would be forced to stop; someone blindly removing material from thousands of articles just because it was unsourced would also be forced to stop. This has been hashed out over and over on WT:V; the idea that every fact in every article is required to carry a source is far from being policy. — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:02, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
One thing to keep in mind is that editors are entitled to ignore bad-faith challenges, which includes JeepDay's "challenge" of articles he knows nothing about.
For example, a few years ago, someone actually "challenged" a sentence that reported (only) the number of digits typically found on the human hand. Is this controversial? A direct quotation? About a person? No. Do we suppose that the anon who added the fact tag thought he was being funny by "challenging" material that the average four year old knows? Yes. So someone removed the fact tag. Removing the tag is what was best for the encyclopedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:15, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
The challenge needs to be proportionate to the article material. To challenge an unreferenced, unsourced article which is on a non-contentious topic stick a tag on it. That prompts editors to seek references and warns readers that there may be a question mark on it. Only those totally unreferenced, unsourced articles which are likely to be contentious should be candidates for outright deletion if they cannot be referenced in a reasonable timescale. --Bermicourt (talk) 17:18, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
"I am officially challenging any main space content (article, stub, list, disambiguation page) that is completely without references". No you're not. Nice attempt at wikilawyering, but any proposal to delete all unreferenced material is inevitably going to sink, so don't waste our time please. Wikipedia policy is not scripture or legally binding, think "spirit not letter". Fences&Windows 01:26, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Unreferenced article ≠ delete

This keeps coming up, so I want to point this out again.

  • An unreferenced article

is not the same as

  • An article that cannot be referenced

Deleting an unreferenced article just because nobody bothered to add references in some arbitrary timeframe is not helpful. We should be adding references not deleting. Only after a serious attempt to reference an article has been made — only then should we start thinking about deletion. Thank you. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 03:05, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Well said! --Bermicourt (talk) 03:12, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
If an article is unreferenced, or referenced only to primary sources, and I do a search in relevant engines (Google News, Google Scholar, any domain specific search), and can't find any, the article should absolutely and without question be deleted. This is necessary to decrease the amount to which Wikipedia is used as a promotional tool, as place for POV warriors to push agendas, or simply as a place to include false or questionable information. Deleting an article does not prevent someone from recreating the article later. If information is there, and unsourced, I (as a reader of the encyclopedia) cannot trust it--it's no better than a blog post. If the information is not reliably sourced, it's not encyclopedic, and does not belong. This is especially true for articles about living people, who may be directly and clearly harmed (or who may do harm to Wikipedia) if there is false or unsourced info about them in articles. Qwyrxian (talk) 03:14, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
WHAT? No. Unreferenced is untrustworthy and has no business being on this project. Source it when you write it because the burden is on the author or those who want information kept. If you think this is a project where someone can just write what they want on a top 10 trafficed site over the entire world and it should sit there, please find somewhere else to contribute. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
I am often confused and I'm never really certain that people understand the point I am trying to get across. So I will quote from the bible instead.
  • Wikipedia:Deletion policy#Editing
    • "If the page can be improved, this should be solved through regular editing, rather than deletion."
  • Wikipedia:Deletion policy#Discussion
    • "Disputes over page content are not dealt with by deleting the page."
  • Wikipedia:Deletion policy#Incubation
    • "Articles which have potential, but which do not yet meet Wikipedia's quality standards, should be moved to the Wikipedia:Article Incubator, where they can continue to be collaboratively edited before either "graduating" to mainspace or ultimately being deleted."
  • Wikipedia:Articles for deletion#Before nominating an article for deletion
    • "Before nominating due to sourcing or notability concerns, make a good-faith attempt to confirm that such sources don't exist."
    • "If the article was recently created, please consider that many good articles started their Wikilife in pretty bad shape. Unless it is obviously a hopeless case, consider sharing your reservations with the article creator, an associated WikiProject, or on the article's talk page, and/or adding a cleanup tag, instead of bringing the article to AfD. If the article can be fixed through normal editing, then it is not a good candidate for AfD."
Bolding comes from the policy, not from me. Did I do a better job getting my point across this way? - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 12:23, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Verifiability which includes burden is more important than any of that. "There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of random speculative "I heard it somewhere" pseudo information is to be tagged with a "needs a cite" tag. Wrong. It should be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced." SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
But, btw, I do think incubation, tagging, and discussion are important. That doesn't mean contested and uncited information should stick around, if an entire article consists of unverifiable information and nobody is willing to verify it deletion is an appropriate action. WP:BEFORE really needs to re-worded to resolve the WP:V conflict in a harmonious way. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Your point is clearer, Hydroxonium, and gets exactly to my point: once I've done a reasonable search (online, major search engines), and found nothing, it's time for the article to go. That's a "good-faith attempt." That's me establishing that the article doesn't "have potential." The only useful information I see you raising there is "if the article is recently created;" however, I think that if, within a few hours of creation, the article does not meet minimum standards, it's time for it to at least be AfD'ed, if not speedied. The whole point is that if we can't find information about the subject, it can't be "fixed through normal editing." Otherwise, what's to stop any random editor from posting semi-plausible by in fact hoax information, either in new articles or existing ones? Qwyrxian (talk) 18:17, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think Hydroxonium is arguing the point that, if a good faith search is made for sources on an article subject and none are found, then it should be deleted. I'm quite sure he agrees that, after searching, if no reliable sources can be found, then putting an article up for AfD is a good practice.
The issue is with users that think like Schmucky does. His first comment was that, if the author doesn't source an article, then you're free to delete it even without searching for references since the burden is on the author. This viewpoint is wrong. And it is also one of the main reasons why we have WP:BITE issues on Wikipedia, because users with the same viewpoint as him immediately put new articles up for deletion if they don't have references, without even checking on the notability of the subject themselves. In my opinion, users that do this and have this opinion are the complete antithesis to the point of Wikipedia and have no right to be involved in anything deletion related. SilverserenC 01:24, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
That may be a little strong, but I agree with the principle. XfD is generally time bound, and for a normal article, say Fooian metagraphics, unless someone has knowledge about metagraphics or has spent a considerable amount of time (more than just a couple of minutes) to researching, shouldn't be thrown to XfD it should be tagged unref and move on, letting the experts in referencing or the experts in metagrpahics take care of the issue. But that comes to the heart of Jeepday's challenge - without some reference (even if it's only to a line entry in Dictionary of Metagraphics) we have no way of knowing that this isn't just a made-up concept (as of course it is). And therefore we want the help of people who know about Fooina metagraphics, even if all they know is that it is defined in an OPPSLA 1992 paper (maybe they came to WP looking for a more readable definition) - for that is exactly the reference we need to a) Verify the subject even exists and b) send our metagraphics people, who don't follow OOPSLA and know little about Foo anyway, scurrying off to find material to expand the article. Therefore the tag serves a purpose even if the article is one line stub. Rich Farmbrough, 10:37, 20 February 2011 (UTC).
I agree with Hydroxonium's posts above.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:01, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I belive Richard Farmbrough is wrong, because the tag isn't going to do anything in the vast majority of cases. If it didn't, we wouldn't have so many articles tagged for years and years that have "citation needed" or "refimprove" or even "unreferenced." There is nothing wrong with removing content until such time as it is referenced. Now, I don't advocate whole-scale removal of any unreferenced info or articles. But if an editor like myself runs across one, and then does a search for said references, and doesn't find them (and, of course, does the search in good faith), then that editor has the right, if not the responsibility, to nominate that article for deletion. The one exception, I feel, is that if the article does seem to be very domain specific (especially if its jargon heavy), it may be helpful to notify a relevant wikiproject instead, assuming that there is an active wikiproject in that subject. Or, of course, do both (nominate and notify the wikiproject). Qwyrxian (talk) 22:16, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Tagging does lead to article improvement, when Erik9bot went through and auto tagged a large population of articles, many of them where improved with references in the first few hours. In fact we had to set up a program to remove the tags because references where being added but the tags where being left on. See Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Unreferenced_articles#Possibly_Referenced_Articles currently about 10% of articles in Category:Articles lacking sources appear to have references, and need to have the tag removed or updated {{Primarysources}}, {{refimprove}}, etc. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 12:01, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Is this a direct result of the tag or just coincidence, as the article would get improved with references over time anyway? Frankly, from my experience, tagging scientific articles (others do, I don't) with "refimprove" has basically zero effect. Nageh (talk) 12:09, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

I, and many others, routinely add references to unreferenced articles. Many sit for years, but I have never come across one that had false information in it. As for "refimprove", I will add references for the things I can easily find but I usually leave the refimprove tag in place. I must admit that I loath having to add references to somebody else's article. It sucks and I wish people did it from that start — but — per policy, that is not a reason to delete in and of itself. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 14:14, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Unfortinately I do come across them with false information though it is often impossibled to tell what is false and what is impossible to find references for. I concur that science or other high tech articles are hardest to get references added by template message. What would the criteria be for checking if a reference was added in relationship to a tag? A number of people (myself included) have made assumptions between the relationship of tagging and article improvement, most from personal experience/perception. Could some kind of query be created the would give an idea? JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday)
That articles get fixed within hours of being tagged does not surprise me at all: It turns up in someone's watchlist, they see and agree with the problem, and they solve it.
However, I seriously question the value of a tag that has persisted for more than a couple of months. I suspect that the vast majority of articles with elderly tags are no more likely to get cleaned up, provided with citations, etc. than untagged articles. It would be intriguing to have someone run an experiment, say, with 2,000 uncited articles being randomly divided between being tagged and being left alone.
If there is a 'usable shelf life' to these tags, it might make sense to put them on a cycle: Tag articles in January. Remove all the tags in April. Re-tag any still-qualifying article again in July. Remove all the tags in October.
Additionally, I think that {{unref}} needs to be modified to include a small-text notice: If someone has added citations to this article, please remove this template! WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:11, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
The tags can be removed by the simple process of finding a reference. As to shelf life, approximately 2% of the 50,000 stubs I tagged in December last year and were still tagged some 14 months later had an explicit reference (using ref tags) - a few dozen more had explicit "cite" templates. This is with an "invisible" tag. A visible tag might have resulted in more being referenced over that time period. You can chose any month's tags from {{Articles lacking sources progress}}. Rich Farmbrough, 22:20, 25 February 2011 (UTC).

Proposal to define "challenge"

North8000's proposal to add "a challenge is to include raising a question about the material other than that it is uncited." is worth further consideration. It is unfortunately common for editors to state that they are "challenging" all uncited content in an article and remove it. I don't think this is what is intended by the policy (neither is Jeepday's "official challenge"). Fortunately, Jeepday is too reasonable to suggest deleting all uncited content. Not all editors are.--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 20:16, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

I viewed the original post as;
  • we could use some help referencing articles
  • it would be nice if people referenced articles from the beginning
That was my take on it, but I could be wrong. - Hydroxonium (H3O+) 14:21, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Pretty much, also add
  • It would be nice if policy was not construed to imply that content that has not been challenged does not require sources/referencing, unless someone wants to delete it.
  • How can we improve on the situation?
Seems like the general trend of conversation is moving towards, pretty much anything could be challenged at anytime, (digits typically found on the human hand), deleting content just because it has been unreferenced for a time is bad. There should be an some common sense involved. There is room to clarify the intent of the message "This policy requires that all quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged be attributed to a reliable, published source in the form of an inline citation, and that the source directly support the material in question." JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 17:23, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
And there are some other major aspects and situations which would be helped by my proposal. Two common ones are mis-use of the current policy to pursue POV wars.....I.E. to selectively knock out or keep out the "other side's" material. The other is to pursue pissing wars where there is not necessarily a POV war. Don't forget that there is is "daisy chain" effect which multiplies the issue on these. It's rare for a cite to both have a source that meets the letter of wp:rs criteria and where the source explicitly says what the material says. So, invoking wp:ver/wp:nor invokes these rules as well. This disparity between reality and the letter of those linked rules makes this an even more powerful magic bullet for selective POV and pissing wars. While a fundamental fix would be even better, simply requiring "a challenge is to include raising a question about the material other than that it is uncited." would significantly reduce the problem, and I can't imagine any negative consequences of such a change. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 18:19, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
North8000, One of your statements reads "If it is possible—not convenient, easy, or already spoonfed to you–to find reliable sources to support the material, then the material itself has already met Wikipedia's requirements for inclusion", which seems to run counter to WP:Burden (and a few other polices), what would the criteria be for showing that "not convenient" references can not been found? This would in effect make it a requirement that an editor had to prove that references did not exist to delete content. That would be problematic on many levels, and would also completely end WP:N. I understand the problem you are trying to address, but if you write a rule that makes it to difficult to remove unreferenced content, the Wikipedia becomes a blog. It is really really easy to put content back if removed from an article, so I think you might be putting your priorities in the wrong order. How would you show that references are not available for Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ahmed Abdel Haye Kira or Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Manar Group? Jeepday (talk) 00:05, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually, that was my statement, not North8000's. Unless and until the specific piece of material is challenged (in good faith/not by vandals), BURDEN simply does not apply. Once it does apply, WP:There is no deadline. Apparently good but uncited material has been accepted in articles for years, and it will always be that way.
WP:N explicitly disclaims the need to cite any sources, ever. [[Cancer] was a notable subject, even in its first, totally unsourced version, and would still be a notable subject, even if no one had ever added a single citation. There is no equivalent to BURDEN in WP:N. We tell people that, as a practical matter, handwaving and unsupported assertions that sources exist won't cut it at AFD, but there is zero requirement in WP:N that any sources be named in any article for any purpose. Non-notable subjects do not become notable by the addition of sources, and notable subjects are not made non-notable by their absence. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:49, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Actual case

I want to bring to your attention an actual case, which exemplifies the problem of "challenging" unsourced material. In particular, the editor systematically threw out sentence after sentence, even sourced ones, and then brought it to AfD. This is not a single case, this is happening again and again. Here is the AfD discussion: Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Acupuncture_point (some editor restored the content previous to deletion). Input by regulars welcome. Nageh (talk) 18:12, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

I've seen many many many cases. A nice simple example where such was used in a pissing war to totally wreck an important article (and many years of work by many editors) is Machine vision Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 18:29, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

After all, this one was a false positive. Nageh (talk) 22:36, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

The inverse case

And what about challenging the factual accuracy of well-referenced statements? I'll give two local examples:

  • File:BourneRedHall.jpg The Red Hall is locally supposed to have been 'where the gunpowder plot was hatched' and this idea appears in dozens of guide books, any one of which could be quoted in a wikipedia article. But Pevsner and the owners both give the date of building as 1605, too late for such a meeting to have occurred, and it did not come into the Digby family - and then the wrong branch - for another generation. A local commentator expands on this, presumably quoting the owners who are generally unapproachable - but he is not an authoritative source, having shown some strange obsessions and partial views in the past.
  • There is a discussion on Talk:Guthram_Gowt about the existence of an electric pump at Guthram Gowt. K.S.G Hinde, 'Fenland pumping Engines' is as authoritative and academic a work as you could hope to find. But is, in this matter, quite wrong. Now the author has managed to find a map from the drainage authorities - which may vanish at any moment - and some Geograph pictures to nullify the error. But had those not been available this error could have been widely promulgated via WP.

What are we to do about well-sourced nonsense?--Robert EA Harvey (talk) 09:36, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Of course that covers many scenarios. But think about it, even after the error is found, as currently written, wp:ver discourages removing it, and wp:npov forbids removing it.
One fundamental change that would help would be assigning some weight to sources for objectivity and knowledge regarding the item that cited it. North8000 (talk) 12:24, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
There are plenty of examples of non-specialist sources getting decades or generations behind specialist ones. One common example is the statement that in 1054 the Pope & the Patriarch of Constaqntinople excommunicated each other & the Catholic & Orthodox churches have been separate ever since. That's found in numerous non-specialist sources, which have been copying it from each other for ages, including Britannica & I don't know how many WP articles. It's almost complete nonsense. See [20] for a whole pile of citations from specialist sources. Peter jackson (talk) 14:26, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
My 2 year plan is to successfully propose two bedrock changes. One is to add two metrics (expertise and objectivity regarding the material that cited them) to the two that wp:ver has (RS criteria and primary/.secondary criteria), make them collective (sum of the 4 defines overall strength of the cite) and to say that the strength of the cite is to be commensuratge with how questionable/disputed the material is. North8000 (talk) 15:04, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
As long as its not a five year plan. Those don't seem to end well. SilverserenC 16:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia has to reflect what reliable sources say, even if they are wrong. There is some discretion in WP:SOURCES and WP:RS to consider the quality of the sources.--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 18:37, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
However it should say that the common belief is wrong with a reference to the source that says that or contradicts the other "common" statements. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:53, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
WP:NPOV addresses conflicting references. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 11:37, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

In example #1, if the fact of the Hall's construction is verifiable then clearly there is a factual, but sourced, inaccuracy and it can sensibly be removed. Probably the same in the second example, though I have not looked into the specifics for now. There is a general misconception that WP:V and WP:TRUTH can be boiled down to "Wikipedia reports what exists in reliable sources, even if it is inaccurate". It is the latter that is incorrect; so long as we can show the inaccuracy trivially there is no issue with removing it. WP:V simply defines the basis of inclusion of material, not defining the extent to which material may be included. WP:TRUTH is a humorous chastisement for those who are here to invoke their own opinions on what is accurate - bypassing the process of reliable publishing. It is not a general indictment against due diligence over material. To be 100% clear; in the first example, the trivially verifiable dates involved means that the sources can be considered unreliable for that specific claim, making it unverified. --Errant (chat!) 12:05, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

ErrantX, you have hit the nail on the head in an area where wp:truth and wp:ver are widely mis-"quoted" to in essence say that accuracy is not a goal of WP, or even that such has been specifically rejected as a goal by WP. This also arises from trying to reverse engineer a WP mission statement out of policies, which is backwards. North8000 (talk) 12:20, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Regarding some posts prior to this, it would help the conversation to make the distinction between a wp:reliable source and an actually reliable source, those are two different things. A source that meets wp:rs can be very unreliable. Further wp:undue/wp:npov (I think relevant to the above discussion) has nothing to require precise use when wp:rs's cover knowing unrelaible statements. For example, if Person #1, says that Person #2 is a martian in disguise, and 10 newspapers cover Person #1's speech, under WP practices, #2's martian-ness has now been covered by 10 RS's, whereas, precisely speaking, they are covering #1's speech, not person #2's martian-ness. North8000 (talk) 12:39, 25 February 2011 (UTC)